Recruitment - predictions for 2012 and beyond - Part 1

Part 1 of this post looks at the general job / recruitment market and where things seem to be going. We make 3 predictions based on the research, industry comment, our own experience and that of clients. Want to know what skills will be in demand in the future and where the Labour market is going ?
Its New Year. We have had a great break over Xmas - hope you have a great festive period too by the way. The periodicals, blogs and comments at this time of year are full of opinions for what will happen in the coming year. We humans love to look into the future and I am certainly no exception. This post has been broken down into two parts. Part 1 - this part - is looking at the future job market in a general sense. Part 2 is about the future of recruitment technology (see next post).

Having reviewed some actual research we have access to, as well as looking broader at options and comment from; government, economists, other recruiters and adding these to our own observations we see the following:

New Zealand
The NZ job market and 2012. Well, in NZ it appears the job market seems to be getting slightly harder for employers and easier for candidates. At least both evidence and experience suggests this is the case. For evidence; unemployment is below the peak of Dec 2009 and employment is 1.1% higher than it was a year ago. However, we don’t think it is useful for employers or candidates to think of a single job market. Everyone wants to know what that means for them and depending where you are will depend on what you will experience. For instance, the papers show lots of people leaving NZ for Australia over the year and indeed the figures confirm that last year more people left than arrived. However as I have outlined before in previous blogs, the Australian market has its own issues and not all is as rosy as the papers are suggesting. The forecasts from economists suggest that the net outflow to Australia will slow considerably over 2012 as people realise that the Australian mining employment boom slows down and people realise that in quite a few areas the job market in Australia is as tight and in some areas even tighter than in here in NZ...

Recruiters in NZ we speak to say they are finding it difficult to get good candidates. By this they mean, candidates that employers might want to interview. Sadly, there are plenty around who employers are not much interested in. But candidates already in jobs in related fields/industries and who have proven skills and who are prepared to make a move are very much sought after in many sectors. Also there is evidence to show that many good candidates may be interested and looking but they don’t take it much further.

Prediction - 1
Competition for “good” candidates will heat up. We think employers will see more candidates looking but they will find it harder to secure the ones they want. We think that an increasing number of employers will start looking (or have to look) at recruiting from overseas markets to fill more positions. For these employers, having an understanding of and communicating their employer brand will be crucial in keeping their cost of hire down and meeting headcount needs (all things we note that our systems can help them with).

Prediction - 2
Related to the above - many people have a
natural “itch” factor. They get itchy-feet after a while and starting looking around for a move. We think there may be several reasons driving this. Perhaps they are concerned about are they getting the developing they think they need/deserve. Perhaps they are questioning their loyalty to their current employer; times have been tough for many, salary rises and promotions are thiner on the ground. We think when the job market starts to get tighter we will see larger numbers of candidates really start seriously looking leaving their current jobs. Its almost like the demand has been welling up over the last few years and is looking for a release. As the economy turns and candidates worry less about job security with their current employer; then many will question whether they will stay long term. Surveys back this up showing underlying loyalty is v low. So watch out employers. Beware of the natural itch.

Retention will become a real issue and making sure as an employer you understand and communicate your employment offer will be key to ensuing your retention ratios don’t go the wrong way.

Employment longer term - what skills will be in demand?
The IT sector in particular gets exercised by this. I have seen lots of predictions and comment from IT recruiters round what key skills will be needed for the future. However we wanted to look at this in more general terms and in a manner that our would be useful to our clients and even candidates (after all a fair few candidates also dip into this blog).

We see and get lots of info on what skills of the future will be required. The perennials we see every year include; increase demand for skills in languages, more technology skills and more project managers. Project managers...?! Every year they come up. We need more of them etc etc. I this was really true we all be project managers (and I say this as someone with a project management PRINCE2 certification)...

So, our next prediction is somewhat controversial. You are warned it flies in the face of much of the predictions you may see. But we think will strike a chord with many recruiters:

Prediction - 3
The skills required in the next few years are... Wait for it.... Basically they are broadly the same underlying ones as they they have always been. Forget all the mumbo jumbo. From what we can see employers are after the following:

- candidates who can think and make reasoned arguments and discussion
- candidates who can communicate clearly with people, who exhibit empathy and who don’t rile others up the wrong way.
- candidates who can focus on doing sustained work and don’t get distracted

And thats it...

In our experience those who get the jobs exhibit the above. Yes most jobs require certain skills, particular qualifications or experience to get past the door. But once you have these then these are in our view the that make the difference and are what employers want. If you were looking for more detail sorry.