Recruiting on the Internet: A Look Ahead

Aug 30, 2001

Recruiters today face a lot of uncertainty in their future. Many recruiters, even executive-search recruiters, are feeling the wrath of layoffs. Just this week, Korn/Ferry has laid off 500 employees company wide in a cost-cutting effort. These layoffs are of course similar to what the corporate recruiter has been experiencing over the last six to eight months. Although these layoffs might have the sound of doom and gloom, there are some more positive factors out there that I believe await recruiting professionals in the (hopefully) near future:

  1. Layoff boomerang. As the layoffs continue after 10 years of widespread growth, the reality of today is tough to swallow. Many recruiters were able to easily secure employment during this period, and in many instances could name their price in certain markets. The same thing held true for most technology workers. With an expanding economy and increased demand for skilled labor, finding suitable employment was easy. As we watch layoff numbers increasing month after month, the question on everyone’s mind is, “When will this all end?” But the more important question to be asking is, “What’s going to happen once it does?” Some say we have already hit rock bottom and we’ll soon be on our way back to the good old days. There are others who say we still have a long way to go until we see strong economic recovery. What does that mean to you? Well, as a recruiter, currently employed or not, it means that once we see solid economic recovery, companies are going to be desperate for skilled talent once again. And yes, that means they will also need skilled recruiters to fill these talent voids. Many companies may end up kicking themselves for letting these prized employees go in the first place, just to save a few bucks, because it is going to cost them a lot more to refill these positions.
  2. Worker shortage. We witnessed it before over the past several years, and the struggle for talent will continue once again in the future. IT workers will continue to be pursued aggressively by recruiters for their services. If you thought the battle for top candidates was tough before, you haven’t seen anything yet! Another contributing factor to this shortage is the decline in students graduating with IT related degrees. In the U.S., we are seeing a sharp decline in the number of students pursuing Computer Science and Engineering degrees. With an economy on the rebound, this will only add to the shortage of skilled talent.
  3. Baby Boomers. We have all heard about them and we all know someone who fits into this category. The challenge that lies ahead of all of us is how we fill their shoes when they retire. Baby boomers will be retiring over the next 20 years and there is no way of stopping it. This in itself will only add to the shortage of workers. Today, the baby boomers represent the largest portion of the U.S. workforce, so as they begin to retire, it is going to become more and more challenging to fill their shoes.
  4. Technology Growth. High growth economy or not, technology will keep changing and improving the way we do business. Over the last 10 to 20 years we have already witnessed the ways technology can affect our lives. Email, for example, has changed the way that we communicate with one another, not only professionally but personally as well. With so many companies developing new technologies or improving on older ones, the demand for workers with these specific skills will continue to rise. Today, many companies develop their own software, for example, and will likely continue to do so in the future. If only one company has developed this specific software, than the group of employees who can work with and develop that software is probably quite small. What happens when someone leaves? How do you replace someone who has experience that no one else in the marketplace has? This is a problem that we are seeing now and it will only increase in the future.

It’s important to keep these things in mind. When hiring is not the main focus of a company, as is the case for many companies right now, it is time to plan for the future. If you don’t take the time to plan now, you could be caught in the battle of all battles when it comes to attracting and hiring top talent!

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