- Published on Monday, 08 March 2010 00:00
In this feature, during the month in which we focus on 'People' and 'Recruitment', MEI's Jeremy Shepherd reviews the current status of the jobs market, its effect on jobseekers and employers, and encourages employers to 'act–early' in their search for the strongest talent.In recruitment terms, we are certainly experiencing extraordinary times!A generation or two ago, the wisdom was that, having left school/college and gained one's education, then it was a case of choosing the company or business that you'd like to work with–probably for the remainder of your working life. Through the 1970s and 1980s, the mood changed somewhat to one of people becoming more mobile with their home–base than ever before, meaning that one could find a new job and be relocated at the company's expense in order to locate oneself close to the office/place of work. Through the 1990s and the early part of the 2000s, the landscape changed again due to the technological advancements of the internet, enabling many more people to 'work–from–home', meaning that they did not, in fact, need to be adjacent to the office, as long as they were able to drop into the office perhaps once or twice–a–week. This meant that many more people did not need to relocate in order to move from one employer to another, and resulted in them being able to maintain a more stable home–life even though, as we all know, the demands on our working hours have become ever–greater!And now, of course, world economies are experiencing a massive downturn in demand which in turn leads to rising unemployment and an enormous change in the ways in which employees market themselves, their careers and, in the case of employers, how they manage their recruitment processes. Yes, of course, this is a generalisation–however, it does affect more people and employers than not. Some economies remain stronger than others and some market sectors, Major Events included, remain as strong and healthy as ever. Why is that? Well, in the case of Major Events, all such events are planned, awarded and commence construction years in advance of the opening ceremonies–and all adhere to fixed deadlines and, largely, to fixed budgets. Consequently, Major Events still demand the same, or even higher, levels of expertise and skill as they always have done–meaning that the jobs market linked to Major Events remains as strong as it ever was. So, what does all of this mean in terms of the availability of candidates? Well, there are many more candidates available in the marketplace today than ever before. Skill levels are higher than ever before, and the competition for the limited number of jobs on the market is higher than ever before. The 2000s have seen the advent of more jobs boards than one can imagine, wherein employers may advertise their vacancies and candidates may advertise themselves while searching for that elusive role. Additionally, social networking sites have been springing up left, right and centre, including those which may have appeal for the younger generations, e. g. Facebook, to those which appeal to the serious business–person, e. g. LinkedIn. Do they work? Yes, to an extent. But nothing beats the tried and trusted methods of good old–fashioned networking–of pressing the flesh of as many colleagues, customers, suppliers and acquaintances as one can possibly cope with in an evening's networking and cocktail session!And has the recent downturn had an effect on salary levels? The answer is, inevitably, yes. And no!To deal with the first answer: there are many more highly skilled, well–qualified people available in the marketplace today than ever before. For those who need to work, but are currently without work, we are seeing many of them pricing themselves in order to obtain work, not necessarily noting the value of the job itself, or even respecting their own worth. This is a difficult one; only the individual can assess how crucial his or her finances are, and only the individual can assess how much he or she needs to earn in order to maintain the standard of living required. So, without doubt, employees are making themselves available for work at significantly lower rates of pay than they may previously have done. This is especially true at middle management levels and for interim assignments. And to deal with the second answer: for those fortunate enough to have remained in employment throughout the downturn, their worth to the company has maintained its level and, should they wish to explore opportunities outside of their current employment, they may even find that their value has increased!Could it be that employers are attracted more to those who remain in employment, than to those who have been out of work for a time during the downturn? The answer to this one, strangely, is yes. And no!Those who are ready and available for work right now may find themselves in a stronger position than those who have to work out a notice period. How can MEI assist employers in locating the right skill sets? Firstly, it must be said that, perhaps due to economic uncertainties, many employers are leaving their recruitment decisions until the last possible moment. That does more harm than good; it puts the candidates in a much stronger position, knowing that the employer is in urgent need of their skill–sets; it means that the search for the right talent to fill the role may be rushed, somewhat unplanned and therefore not comprehensive; and it can mean that employers make poor decisions in appointing the wrong person to the role. My appeal to employers would be to 'act early'; select your recruitment process at the earliest possible stage and be clear about the essential skills, experiences and personality types that you want to see in the vacant position. Major Events International retains an in–depth knowledge of the skills required, of the cultures inherent, and of the personnel available to work in a Major Events environment. We have in place a significant network of recruitment consultants around the world, able to find and locate the essential people skills required to produce a successful major event. Our highly experienced network of recruiters stretches to all corners of the globe, meaning that we can satisfy local and global searches for the best talent in the marketplace today. And, whether your major event is at the pre–bid stage, such as those bidding for the FIFA World Cup 2018, at the set–up stage such as the recently awarded 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, or even, as in the case of Vancouver 2010, at the pre–delivery stage, MEI's recruitment network can access and deliver the required skill–sets and personnel demanded.