While this was my maiden voyage attending their annual conference, I have attended many recruiting/executive search conferences since the market went south. At this year’s conference I was asked to speak on the topic of business development. My talk was very upbeat – but that seemed to be the case for everyone who presented at this year’s conference. And it’s not just us search professionals. You can feel it everywhere. Las Vegas is a different town today. Everywhere I visited, the hospitality business had a ‘let’s make a deal’ mentality and seems to have adjusted their offerings to today’s market. The casinos were not what I would call full by any stretch. But people were moving around and it felt better. Much (much) better. A lot has happened in our industry in the past two years (to say the least). Many search firms have taken a bath or been wiped out by this multi-year recession and it’s not entirely over yet.
Having said that, things are definitely improving – and for the better. Yahoo! The signs over the past few months have given us, in the search business, new found hope that our industry has seen the worst, and better days are already here for many of us. I spoke to dozens of attendees at the Fordyce Conference and they, like me, have seen an up-tick in their business. All good. Many of the search professionals I spoke to have seen their business take off over the course of the past few months with 50% or better increases in search assignments. The Recruiter Confidence Index is up! That’s a good thing. And there was another phenomenon I witnessed this past week. It was in the attitude and the overall spirit of the attendees and the people of Las Vegas. It was clearly upbeat. Again – all good. The truth of the matter is that things are getting better and attitudes are changing in a positive way.
From what I could gather the size of the conference also improved – attendance nearly doubled compared to last year’s conference. It’s about time. Yep. Employers are now seeing revenues and profits move into positive territory and to keep up with demand and service delivery, they must increase and upgrade their talent. Money is once again flowing in the venture capital and private equity markets and making huge investments after waiting in the wings for more than two years. BUT….employees are burning out. After years of wearing multiple hats while their employers cut costs, put a freeze on hiring, and squeezed out more profits, many of their employees are thinking seriously about looking for greener pastures – and soon. They are (sick and) tired and many are just fried. Burned out and stressed out. I hear it every day.
So, here we are again at a crossroads. The demand for human capital is higher and many employees are ready to head for the exit doors in search for their New ‘New Thing’. Search professionals are seeing some daylight and real signs that things are improving. So, while the reports out of Washington tell us one thing, the growth in search assignments over the past few months (for many of us) tell a different story. And it’s a good one.
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Let’s get ready to get busy folks – this time I think it’s real. OH YEAH! Gotta love that!!!
reposted with permission; original post from Fistful of Talent