Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Right Candidate Can Still be an Elusive Commodity Even in a Recession

Copyright (c) 2012 Alison Withers

As the global economic uncertainty continues the Recruitment and Employment Confederation has continued its regular testing of employers' confidence in the UK and its latest findings are that confidence remains flat.

Their Jobs Outlook report reveals that while employers as yet have no intention on cutting back on employees only just over half reported intentions to increase recruitment over the next four months from September 2012 and fewer than half expected to increase their permanent work forces over the next 12 months.

More than two thirds of those surveyed also indicated that they would be freezing the numbers of temporary workers they employed over the same periods.

According to comments from among independent niche recruitment consultantst the recruitment market is currently at its most challenging since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008.

Salaries for board level PAs and EAs, for example, have risen only marginally since 2011 and in the capital are between £35,000 to £50,000. This is consistent through the levels of administrative positions from Personal Assistant down to the more junior levels.

However, agencies report that employersare being increasingly demanding when they are recruiting, wanting more for their money even while there is a shortage of candidates because people are tending to remain where they are in relatively secure jobs rather than look around.

It has been reported that some employers are unwilling to consider CVs showing less than two years with a previous employer despite the high level of redundancies that have been occurring over the last four years. They have also been looking for candidates with more than one set of skills.

Among these are marketing experience, some accounting experience, more sophisticated IT skills and language skills, particularly French and German, along with candidates being able to demonstrate their ability to manage their bosses' complex schedules.

Nevertheless employers seem to be making more effort to retain key people. In another of its reports, this time from its Flexible Working Commission, the REC reports that employers who have adopted more flexible working arrangements have been able to retain valued people, reduce absenteeism and improve both staff morale and productivity.

It argues that businesses may need to pay even more attention to issues like flexible and family friendly working as well as investing more in training managers and leaders to manage flexible working teams if they want to retain valued people.

It seems that in 2012 there is some balance between the increasingly tough demands of employers when they are recruiting and the power of the valued employees they want to retain.

Recruitment Agencies are reporting that employers are demanding a wider variety of skills from candidates for senior level PA and EA roles as the economic uncertainty continues. By Ali Withers.

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