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The only way is up: There are signs that things are looking up on the recruitment front
The only way is up: There are signs that things are looking up on the recruitment front

Recruitment reflects the wider economy so it's not surprising Barry Whelan is often asked: "What’s it like out there at the moment?" Unfortunately, the answer is not straightforward



12 May 2010

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The consensus in the recruitment industry in relation to FMCG and retail vacancies is that the bottom of the market was around February and March of 2009. Data gained from the main jobs boards and recruitment companies would tend to support this finding. So, have we turned a corner, have things improved? The answer is – for the moment, yes.

The amount of live vacancies registered in the Irish economy rose from August last year, peaking towards the Christmas rush, but continuing in this trend through Q1 2010. Q1 in 2010 impressively outperformed Q1 in 2009, but was nothing near the volume of Q1 in 2008. The jobs market has shown, and continues to show good signs of recovery, but has not returned to anything like we experienced prior to the recession.

Employers and workers alike are on edge as the economic struggles that began in 2008 have continued.

Wait and see policy

Employers that took a ‘wait and see’ view to recruitment, found that they needed to move on positions and fill vacancies. Companies that instigated recruitment freeze policies and did not hire to compensate for natural attrition found their remaining staff, stressed and under severe pressure. We have seen many companies now recruiting to fill these gaps.

Cherry picking

We have also found employers enjoying the windfall of an abundance of candidates interviewing for the jobs they have- the employment market has become completely employer centric as opposed to the previous employee centric 12 years. Employees are more in tune with reality in terms of salaries and benefits and are working harder than ever before to secure a position. This is a very welcome development.

Temporary work

Employers are offering more contract based work as they try to gauge the next phase of the recession on their business. Hiring an individual on a contract basis, gives both the company and individual an opportunity to really see that the person is adding value and that they like the position they are in and are capable of carrying out the duties they were hired for. We are seeing more contract work and interim positions.

For an individual searching for a full-time position, one of the most difficult challenges is getting a foot in the door with a prospective employer. Many individuals find that companies may be more open to recruiting on a temporary or rolling contract basis. This is a great opportunity to get employed candidates back into the workforce. It is then up to these individuals to encourage companies to offer them permanent roles through their performance.

Although working temporarily doesn’t come with a full-time employment guarantee, there are plenty of benefits, such as availability of jobs, convenience, access to top companies and an expedited job search.

Compensation in Q1 2010

As expected, tighter budgets have prevented employers from offering significant pay increases and resulted in pay reductions for some employees.

So in answer to the question, it is better than it was and getting better all the time.            



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