EmploymentHuman ResourcesRecruitment

Is Recruitment the Real Barometer for Economic Recovery?

By February 17, 2011 No Comments

This week I made a placement into a recruitment firm that came with a $5k signing-on fee for the candidate.  I felt a little bit like how Fernando Torres’ agent must have felt when he negotiated a £50 million signing-on fee from Chelsea (ok ok…I said “a little bit”)

But this is indicative of the way the recruitment market is heading now in New Zealand, and even more so in Australia from what I have heard.  We have come flying out of the traps into 2011 and it is busy, very busy.  The demand for recruitment talent is high because recruitment firms are getting so busy they are starting to struggle to deliver, in some areas.

Check out some recent Tweets, in the past 2 weeks, from recruiters that I stalk “follow”:

“Farrow Jamieson just finished the best January Revenue in a decade.  The New Zealand Recovery is underway!”  @nzheadhunter

 

“What a week.  7 placements in the Melbourne office.  Bring it on!”  @hamiltonrec2rec

 

“RFP’s, proposals, presentations, new business, all on a Saturday & with no hangover 2011 is going to be busy and is shaping up nicely!”  @JamesNutt11

 

“Congrats to Gordon and Philippa for accepting your dream jobs in the NFP sector!!!  February is gearing up to be a good one!!!!”  @Talent_Capital

 

“And sales and business development roles aplenty!  2011 recruitment market in NZ is looking promising.”  @bobwalkerNZ

OK so this all sounds fabulous right?  Add to that the supposed “shot in the arm” that the Rugby World Cup is going to deliver to our New Zealand economy.  $500m according to a presentation by the New Zealand 2011 Business Club at an HRINZ function on Tuesday night.

But how does all this positivity stack up against the seemingly negative statistics constantly coming out of Government?  According to this article from Bernard Hickey, English and Key have admitted New Zealand may have statistically hit a double-dip recession already and despite it being an election year are talking up fiscal responsibility and reducing debt.  Furthermore it seems consumer confidence dropped again in February. 

And what of the RWC2011 economic benefits?  Are we really pinning our hopes of a sustained recovery on this one event?  I recently read a brilliant book called “Why England Lose” by Simon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski (2010).  Here is a pertinent excerpt:

“The raising and dashing of hopes of an ‘economic bonanza’ has since become as integral a part of a modern football tournament as the raising and dashing of hopes that England will win it…Euro 96 generated about £100 million in direct income for Britain.  This was peanut dust beside the £12.7 billion spent by all overseas visitors to the country in 1996.  Meanwhile, a study by Liverpool University and the city council found that the 30,000 visitors to Liverpool during Euro 96 spent only £1.03 million between them.  How many jobs did that create?  Thirty, all of them temporary.”

 

Simple message – don’t pin your hopes of increased recruitment activity and economic stimulus on the Rugby World Cup – just enjoy it for what it is, showcase New Zealand to the world, and for God’s sake don’t plunge the country back into a fatal depression if the All Blacks fail to win it!

Another alarm bell was rung last week with the liquidation of a long-established Accounting & Finance recruitment business in Auckland.

However, I am a recruiter like those Tweeters above.  I am busy, I am confident, I am positive.  I just struggle to see how the vibe in recruitment relates to the words coming from economists and politicians mouths.

Maybe we should ignore Government statistics which are old news by the time we read them.  Maybe the recruitment industry is the true barometer of what is happening out there in the employment markets and economy as a whole.  What do you reckon?

Jonathan Rice

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.

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