Predictions for HR/Recruiting in 2011

Published: Jan 19, 2011

Predictions for HR/Recruiting in 2011
By Suvarna Sheth, BioSpace

The recession has made 2010 a dismal year for HR and recruiting. Many analysts didn't have a positive outlook going into 2010 – across the board, from the hospitality, biotech and healthcare sectors -- some areas being more promising than others. Looking into the crystal ball, we speak with two prominent recruitment experts for their predictions for HR/Recruiting for 2011, including how recruitment is changing.

In the closing months of 2010, Jeff Perry, a recruitment advertising executive for the Star Tribune Media Company is seeing a lot of investment for recruiting efforts now and into 2011 simply because he says employers are again hiring, even if cautiously.

"Most of the employers that I am seeing invest for 2011 are small-medium sized employers in the 100-500 employee range and consist primarily of technology or medical tech companies, financial institutions (banks, credit unions, etc.), and some manufacturing companies," Perry says. "In addition, larger Fortune 1000 companies are hiring too and are actively securing resources for finding talent into next year."

Going into 2011, Perry says employers are using social media more and more to find talent and or get referrals. "That's not to say they are abandoning more traditional tools, like job boards, but they are certainly putting more energy into sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook," he states.

However, he doesn't believe the world of recruitment will change as much as might be believed. He says referrals from existing employees have long been the best source and the most successful way companies find talent, and that won't change.

And Perry says while there is a great buzz about social media, "it's simply another 'channel,' like job boards, industry/trade groups, search engines, newspapers, job fairs to get a message or opportunity out to an audience.

Perry predicts what might change in 2011 is the balance between an "employers market" and a "job seekers market." While it may not be dramatic, with more jobs being created, employers may not find talent as easy to come by as in the past few years.

"They will then need to reconsider how they compete for talent and how they can attract more candidates than their competitors," Perry says, "they will have to get creative with sourcing methods and advertising, and focus on branding as a way to stand out and attract the best workers."

He says they will also have to be more proactive and do things like attend career and other events and search out candidates via resume databases on job boards, profiles on LinkedIn, and the like.

In contrast, Raghav Singh, a partner at The A-List, a Minneapolis-based staffing services provider, says the recruitment industry is not ready to bounce back so quickly.

For one, he says not all industries are picking up as fast as others from the recession. While he says the healthcare industry continues to see robust demand, other industries such as hospitality has suffered a great deal as a result of the recession and there has been massive net loss there. Singh says because the hospitality industry is so closely linked to the wider economy, it's going to remain flat, with possibility of a slight uptake.

The biotech sector is slightly more promising, according to Singh, even though it represents a relatively small portion of the overall market. "The biotech hubs, California, New Jersey and others continue to see very robust growth and demand for talented employees so much more than the supply.

However, Singh claims that employers across the board are not showing an inclination to bring back full time recruitment staff. While he says this may change in the next few years, there is nothing to suggest it's going to change in a major way in the near future.

The staffing expert says the model is changing from having a substantial recruitment staff in-house to most of it being contracted. He says many companies are also using a hybrid model, using a combination of contract recruiters and outside agencies to source candidates.

"Companies just aren't willing to spend the money," he says, "there's just no desire to invest in big costs or spend fees on recruitment today, and that's why you see so much emphasis on social media." For recruiters, this means getting out there as a contractor is probably the best way to go just because a lot of companies aren't looking to hire full time recruiters.

Singh says the big push before the recession was to move toward the Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) model, where a company hands over its entire recruitment efforts to an outside agency.

However, he notes the RPO model has not been very satisfactory for a lot of employers, working mainly for low skilled, high volume jobs.

"A lot of companies have gone to the RPO model, and pulled back a good chunck to manage recruitment by using contractors or a combination of contractors and an outside agency do to the sourcing," Singh explains.

The major trends Singh sees emerging in the recruitment industry for the New Year are products that focus on talent development and retention, instead of acquisition. Singh says applicant tracking systems have reached a near saturation level and the functionality is only going to see incremental changes.

Lastly, he says social media products will continue a slow evolution. "What we have today are applications that broadcast jobs to social networks -- Jobvite, Jobs2Web -- which are essentially advertising," he says, "there is no focus on engaging potential candidates and there's a lot of dissatisfaction among users (employers) because of the lack of results." Singh says you'll see more products that are more about building engagement among members of a network.

Suvarna ShethSuvarna Sheth is a reporter and writer on the RegionalHelpWanted news beat team. She has more than six years of experience reporting breaking news and trends in the biotech, pharma and healthcare sectors. Sheth has dual degrees in biotechnology and online journalism.

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