When the economy took a turn for the worse in October, many recruiters began fearing for their own jobs. The good news is that some companies are still thriving. To predict a company’s financial health and penchant for hiring, look no further than its customer base.
“This downturn is really a mosaic, not a uniform event,” says Kip Cassino, VP of research for Borrell Associates. “You can’t just look at the national trends to judge which industries or companies might be hiring; you’ll have to do some rigorous homework.”
Here’s an example of what Cassino is describing.
News reports frequently cite the construction industry as being highly impacted by the weak economy, but lingering below the surface-level macro data are some exceptions. Firms that build hospitals, schools, bridges, or power plants may have a healthy pipeline of projects around the globe. Customer demand for goods and services and geographic footprint determine how the economy is impacting each company or industry sub-segment and its economic outlook.
In addition to traditionally recession-resistant industries like healthcare and education, transportation and information services appear to be fairly strong during this downturn, according to Cassino, while recruiters will have to carefully research opportunities within the durable and non-durable goods manufacturing industry, because it is a mixed bag. Real estate is slowly being reignited by a buyer’s market, and when you get beyond Wall Street, even the financial services industry isn’t all bad.
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Also, growth-oriented, mid-size companies may be a source of opportunities for recruiters with large-corporation recruiting experience and know-how.
Despite a few bright spots, recruiters are facing some headwinds. A search on the online job posting consolidator Indeed reveals 6,705 open recruiter positions nationwide, 3,937 of those in corporations and 2,744 in staffing agencies. Temporary help led all industries in the number of initial unemployment claims filed in October, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the entire industry accounts for only 787 open recruiter positions on Indeed.
The slowdown dovetailed with a decline in U.S. new job creation and a subsequent pullback by increasingly wary passive job seekers. The number of employed people planning to look for new jobs declined 7.5 % between Nov. 2006 and March 2007, and the numbers have since continued to decline, leaving recruiters to refill a dwindling number of vacant positions. Cassino’s view is that there won’t be a significant uptick in hiring until 2010 to 2011, mostly fueled by vacancies created by retiring baby boomers.