What’s Going On in the Corporate Staffing World? Results of Our Recent Survey, Part 2

Two weeks ago I presented a survey to compare how things are looking in the staffing world today versus 18 months ago. Last week I presented the first set of findings, and this week I continue with additional findings on structure, work load (requisitions), and metrics. Everyone is interested in how we organize to get work done, and as our organizations change, so does the recruiting structure. Over the past 18 months we saw a slight increase in the number of firms answering that they had a centralized structure, and a slight decrease in those that say they have some hybrid form. Centralized Structures Gain As expected, almost 45% (up from 42%) of you reported that you were a centralized group within the organization. Structure usually has a lot to do with the size of your organization, and small ones almost always find it more cost effective to have one centralized staffing function. I believe that in larger organizations a hybrid structure provides the best mix of control and flexibility. There are four functions that I believe should remain in the hands of the centralized group: core technology (e.g., ATS system choice and support), core metrics (a corporate-wide wrap-up), the establishment of core processes and methodologies, and training and development of staff. Everything else should be left to the local or divisional units. Staff Gets Smaller, Reqs Per Recruiter Stable Recruiting staffs seem to continue getting smaller while the number of requisitions recruiters are handling has risen. Since the April 2002 survey, there has been an additional 10% decrease in the number of people involved in recruiting. Over 46% of you are handling 16 or more requisitions (up slightly from 43% last time). For a significant portion of you (42%), however, things have remained fairly stable over the past 18 months. This would be in line with the sluggish job situation as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I am also assuming that time has become the factor of least concern for most hiring managers, who are taking longer and looking harder to fill whatever few positions they have. This means they aren’t very concerned about your big requisition load as they see it spread out over a longer time horizon. The Future? Professional and College Reqs Up Another interesting finding is that very few of you (4%) see any decrease in the number of professional hires on the horizon, but 45% of you see increases, with another 43% seeing stability. This is encouraging and underscores the fact that we have most likely hit a plateau in the job market where growth will begin, but slowly and carefully. The same was true for college hiring, which took a big hit over the past two years. Now, more than 34% of you see the numbers increasing in your organization, with another 42% seeing no change in current hiring. Again, only a handful (6%) sees a decrease coming. What do you all think? Are more requisitions a problem? Has technology helped you handle more volume? I would very much like to hear any of your thoughts on this or stories about how you are dealing with the increased workload. One of the issues many are discussing is what will happen when hiring picks up. Will you be able to scale up using technology, or will you need major increases in recruiting staff? If any of you are willing to talk about this with me, please send me an email at kwheeler@glresources.com and I’ll be in touch. Concern: Skilled Talent You echo what many pundits, including myself, have been saying all year: The greatest challenge you face has been, and will remain, finding skilled talent. An overwhelming 83% of you said this was the number-one issue facing your organization. While we may not have any shortage of physical bodies, we do face a significant lack of qualified people with the specific skills needed for the jobs that are being defined. As we move from a manufacturing nation of semi-skilled to skilled manual workers, we find we don’t have enough people with the wide range of verbal, technical, and interpersonal skills that are needed. We are short of healthcare professionals, certain types of computer engineers and software experts (e.g., cyber-security, wireless networking), and financial professionals. This is a challenge that will differentiate the best recruiters from the average as the economy picks up. The recruiter with the best networks, the most robust talent pools, and the best software will win the first round of this war. Concerns: Retention and Training As after every recession, people will start to leave as soon as they can find another employer to pick them up. The grass is always greener. While this is an opportunity to get some good people, it is also a vulnerability as your own organization loses some of its best people. This was your second big concern, with more than 58% saying retention was just as important as finding talent. While recruiters can do very little to keep those people currently on board, it is important to understand why those who leave do so. We want to select those who are most likely to stay, and the best way to figure that out is to see who leaves and who doesn’t and try to learn what characteristics lead to longer-term retention. You were also somewhat concerned (31% of you) about the availability of training and development for current staff. Research has consistently shown that development improves retention. It would be useful to lobby for continuing education for every employee. Final Issues: Leadership More than 46% of you felt that leadership skills were a critical HR and recruiting issue for your organization. This was down from 58% of you who felt that way last time, but it remains an issue. It is most likely going to be leadership that helps us get through this recession and regain economic stability and growth. Finding good leaders is partly a recruiter’s job, and it behooves us to really understand what skills and competencies make for good leadership in our organizations and then rigorously apply those criteria to our candidates. Thanks again for helping with a very enlightening survey.

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Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for ERE.net, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at kwheeler@futureoftalent.org.

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