Written by
Changeboard Team

Published
17 May 2010

Resourcing challenges for HR professionals in the North

17 May 2010 • by Changeboard Team

Retention & internal talent

Mid 2009 manufacturing, retail and financial services commonly noticed an overwhelming downturn in the market. This resulted in volume restructuring and change which cascaded through organisations entire operations, cutting cost and operating lean. 

Moving into 2010 we have noticed a real shift in market conditions with increase in confidence leading to increased hiring. The aforementioned is due to a refocus on bringing in talent to deliver succession planning, assessing reward strategies, addressing leadership skills and development needs. 

Business have taken a cautious approach to the market which has forced them to rethink and refocus on their talent strategy leading them to having a real focus on retention and developing internal talent which has in turn led to an increase in opportunities on the market within talent, leadership development and reward.

The combination of this refocus, and a decrease in unemployment in Q1 has also meant and increase in candidates confidence in the market, which in turn has led to an improved movement of talent, thus making an increase in jobs and opportunities once again. 

Temporary and permanent

2009 saw an increase in demand for temporary and contract professionals across the board, while the number of permanent vacancies appeared to drop considerably. This was due to a variety of market factors. Firstly, where companies were experiencing restructure, change and downsizing, HR professionals were absolutely vital to ensure the smooth running of these processes, and it was much more appropriate and efficient for them to be employed as an interim for the duration of the project, on a daily rate basis.  This was also seen to be cost-effective as the budget for an interim member of staff often sits outside the permanent headcount. 

The impact of this from a candidate perspective meant that there was an extremely high volume of candidates seeking interim work, as those who had previously always been employed on a permanent basis, sought to take on interim roles until the permanent market recovered.

Market confidence

There was also an increase in the number of fixed term contract posts being recruited for, some of these were unrelated to the economy and are a constant, for example, long term sick, maternity cover etc, however, it has been clear that this solution has also been effective for the cautious employer, where there was a permanent need, however tight budgets and potential future business restructure could cause problems.

As we finished the first quarter of 2010, the market seems to have shifted once more, with a general increase in the demand for HR professionals across the board, however most noticeably there have been more permanent vacancies, as employers begin to regain confidence in the market, and focus on rebuilding and re-engaging loyal employees, and candidates in permanent roles rejoin the market, looking for their next Challenge or next step on the career ladder.

The early signs are there that the jobs market in the North this year should be much improved on 2009, however there is still an undercurrent of caution, particularly as we face a General Election this quarter.