Overflowing talent pool a golden opportunity for employers

by 12 Mar 2009

With candidates easier to find today than at any time since 2001, smart employers should be snapping up top talent whenever they can, according to the Recruitment & Consulting Services Association (RCSA).

In recent research, the body found that the war for talent was experiencing a ceasefire. More than half of business owners and managers in the talent management sector said it was easy to find appropriate candidates now – compared with just a third in November 2008, and a fifth in December 2007.

“An unfortunate result of the slowing economy is that there are more jobseekers out there than there have been in a long time. In fact, the labour market scores are the highest we have seen since the survey began in 2001,” said Julie Mills, CEO of the RCSA.

“But employers should not be fooled into thinking this will be the case forever: demographic forces mean there will still be a skills shortage in the long term. Smart employers who have the resources should be taking this opportunity to attract and develop top talent. They will need good people to help them weather the downturn and succeed in the upturn.”

The list of occupations facing skills shortages has changed considerably in the last quarter, with health professionals knocking engineers from their long-held position at the top of the list.

“It appears that some industries are recession-proof, with healthcare being the most obvious one. But we are seeing some interesting trends, such as rail drivers and school teachers appearing in the top ten list for the first time; demand for these roles has spiked from 6 per cent to 17 per cent and 14 per cent to 21 per cent respectively,” Mills said.

At the same time, demand for some roles has stalled in the past two years: 47 per cent of recruiters faced a shortage of business professionals in 2007, but that figure is down to only 11 per cent now. Demand for building professionals has halved (29 per cent to 14 per cent) and for IT professionals it has dropped by a quarter (21 per cent to 16 per cent).


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