The Impending Talent Bloodbath – Are You Ready?

By Tony Restell

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The Impending Talent Bloodbath – Are You Ready?Imagine a situation where your best staff are leaving in droves. Scrambling out the door at a rate your company has never seen before.

Then picture your decision makers being far more specific about the profile of candidate they will accept in terms of replacement hires.

Lastly take on board the reality that your recruiting team will be operating on a smaller budget than it was the last time the business was hiring at full tilt.

This may sound like a nightmare scenario, but I suspect it’s the harsh reality that is awaiting each and every recruiter out there as the market builds up momentum. If the above proves to be true, we will have a situation where the volume of replacement hiring needed just for a company to stand still – let alone grow – is significantly higher than we’ve seen in the past. So the total hiring volumes you will have to deliver are going to be frightening.

Look around your team now – do you think the business is prepared for this eventuality? Here’s why you need to be:

Your Best Staff Are Leaving In Droves

LinkedIn, People Aggregators, Social Recruiting – what their final impact will be on the recruiting landscape is a matter of much debate. But there is one thing that I think is not in question at all. These new tools have massively increased the ease with which recruiters and employers can directly approach passive candidates. Whilst not everyone is receptive to such approaches, a portion of all staff are.

What does this mean? As the hiring market heats up, every business needs to assume that a greater proportion of their top talent are going to be at risk of moving on. It’s going to be harder and harder to second guess which of our staff might be at risk of leaving; and when staff leave, the likelihood of them being critical to the business is going to be greater. More people having the idea put into their heads that a move would be good for their careers is likely to mean more staff changing jobs overall. So I don’t think it’s a stretch of the imagination to foresee staff churn being a greater problem than in the past – and that the staff walking out the door are a greater loss to the business than they were during the last hiring boom.

Replacement Hiring Becomes a Major Headache

One trend that has become very pronounced during the downturn has been companies becoming increasingly demanding in terms of their hiring requirements. I’m not talking here about raising the bar in terms of the calibre of hire being made. I’m talking about being ultra-specific in terms of the role that needs to be filled and the candidate criteria that therefore need to be fulfilled for a hire to be made.

From all the conversations I’m having, recruiters perceive that the specificity of hiring requirements has been ratcheted up these last years – and there’s no expectation that this is going to ease off as hiring picks up again. Indeed, if a growing number of replacement hires are actually business critical – because direct approaches are luring more passive candidates away from employers – then we may well see hiring requirements being far more rigidly enforced than during the last hiring boom.

Recruiting on a Smaller Budget and with Greater Pressures

Companies have been pushing to achieve lower costs per hire through a mix of squeezing recruitment agency rates and bringing more recruiting in-house. No-one I am speaking with expects a dramatic loosening of the purse strings as the market recovers. Rather, there’s an expectation that recruiting teams will need to learn to operate within the tighter budgets that they’ve become used to these last years. Yet all the while the demands on recruiters are growing. Social media, for one, is a significant time drain – but one that must be tackled if candidates are not to be lost to more responsive competitors.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this assessment of our sector’s prospects. From my vantage point, I see an impending talent bloodbath. Candidates can be poached more easily; replacement hiring will be harder than before; and the resources to make these hires will be constrained. As soon as stronger economic growth feeds through, I can see staff churn accelerating and this bloodbath ensuing. What’s your take?

Image Credit: Vinoth Chandar


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