HR Market Update : ​Don't Fear Experience


by Chris Carr & Claire Little

27th July 2017

If your business has recently advertised a Human Resources (HR) vacancy you'll already appreciate the volume of local job seekers in this profession with, on average, more than 100 applicants per role.

In reaction to the competition for work, a portion of the local talent pool has transitioned out of HR and even the north east in general, with the availability of relevant graduates tempered by their decision to seek employment further afield.

The prevailing market sentiment remains cautious and this is reflected in the nature of hiring, with over 90% of our placement activity being temporary or fixed-term in nature. This, however, is creating opportunities for organisations that are not apprehensive about hiring over-qualified HR applicants.

When taking on an experienced temporary worker concerns around longevity of hire are minimised given the limited length of assignment and, the client benefits from knowledge and wisdom whilst, quite frankly, having to expend little or nothing on training and development.

On this hiring model the business benefits from a candidate who surpasses the requirements of the role and, upon demonstrating wider business value, has in certain instances gone on to be promoted internally to a position more commensurate with their skills and experience. Operator and Tier 1 service companies are using this model most effectively, opting to embrace the candidate's experience rather than fear it, with the try-before-you-buy safety net facilitating the experiment.

In recent months we have experienced a mini-revival in vacancy volume, albeit the majority of hiring is still reactive with clients seeking a near-immediate placement turnaround. It's too early to comment on whether this is the beginning of an upswing in HR fortunes or merely the result of mid-year workload reviews. We've supported a number of recent recruitment drives targeting junior generalists and personnel logistics coordinators, and while the demand for such individuals will hopefully prevail there's a notable shortage of HR systems specialists in the local market.

As a cautionary note to employers, the supply of immediately available candidates is fast diminishing, so a focus on succession planning and speeding up internal approval processes is advised. Businesses able to wait a month or more for incoming staff will have near exclusive access to some very talented HR professionals whose current job security far exceeds their job satisfaction.

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