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Recruiting in a recession

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How are in-house recruitment functions coping with the recession?

“All recruitment functions have been affected to one degree or another by the global recession”, says Richard Colgan, CEO of Oakleaf Partnership, in his foreword to Recruiting in a Recession, new research commissioned by the company. He goes on to explain that the research illustrates how the recession has impacted in-house recruitment functions and has resulted in them taking on a much broader remit, including such things as internal talent sourcing, direct sourcing of external candidates, compensation benchmarking and employer branding.
Recruiting in a Recession aims to understand what measures have been implemented to enable functions to continue to add value in a climate of downsizing and headcount freezes. Nearly 50% of all functions have restructured within the last six months. Colgan believes that this recession has created a shift in attitude toward the value of recruitment functions and every effort has been made to retain the very best staff, both for reasons of preparing for a market upturn and in recognition of the value they add. He believes it's testament to the paradigm shift in the professionalism of the function, in parallel with the growing professionalism of the HR function as a whole.
The research goes on to look at what the future holds, with some 80% of respondents predicting a recovery in 2010 with nearly 50% saying that they will start to plan 6 months before the upturn. 48.8% say that both permanent and temporary hires are likely to reduce by more than 20% in the next 12 months, yet 30% say there will be no change.
Colgan concludes his foreword by stating that he believes the recruitment landscape may well have changed forever. Nearly 70% believe that the long term impact of the recession will be a reduction in need to use recruitment firms and just under one third believe that there will be a growth in smaller, boutique recruitment businesses.

The research

117 senior-level in-house recruitment professionals were surveyed on-line in April and May 2009. Of those surveyed, 56% were at director or head of Function level. 43.6% came from the financial services sector, 24.2% from the professions and the remaining 32.2% from commerce & industry. 62.9% worked in businesses with more than 2,000 employees and of that, 45.2% worked in firms with more than 5,000 employees.

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