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Tumbleweeds Rolling Across New Zealand’s Recruitment Industry

By August 9, 2012One Comment

There’s nothing happening in the New Zealand recruitment industry.

OK I admit that’s not the most attention grabbing opening line of The Whiteboard blog that you’ll ever see.  But, after spending the week in Wellington, it’s just the way it is right now.  I’m here to bring you news, views and commentary of goings on in our industry but my muse has flown the coop and the ink run dry on goings on this week.  The reason for that is largely due to the fact that everyone in Wellington, and elsewhere to a lesser extent, are in a frozen state of stasis, awaiting the call from MED indicating whether or not they’ve been successful in their All-of-Government recruitment contract bid.  Apparently the successful panelists will be notified in the first two weeks of August.  Nobody I spoke to in Wellington this week has heard a peep, so I have to imagine things will start happening next week.  Recruiters in Wellington are in such a state of grumpy annoyance about the whole process now though that I wonder how much joy an announcement of selection onto the panel will bring.

That really depends on what the Government decides to do in appointing the panel.  Part of me wonders whether even they were surprised at the extent to which the recruitment industry dropped its pants in the online e-tender.  Is it hopelessly optimistic of me to think they might actually settle on more sustainable rates and invite the firms with the best “Quality” scores onto the panel at pre-set rates?  Possibly so, but one can only hope.  Let’s see what happens next week and just pray that our Government doesn’t take a leaf out of their Aussie counterparts in some crazy PSA shennanigans as blogged about by Ross Clennett this week.  Wellingtonian recruiters might well moan about their inability to set strategies for growth, implement new service offerings, or resource according to future delivery requirements, but can you imagine waiting almost a full year for a decision to be made on such a crucial PSA panel?  Madness.

Auckland and Christchurch are also afflicted by a similar state of inertia right now.  Recently released unemployment figures rose unexpectedly to 6.8% pointing towards a flat jobs market in Auckland and:

“A year and a half after the February 2011 earthquake, Canterbury remains a large weak spot in the national labour market.”

Hudson’s latest Employment Trends survey reveals that only 3 out of 10 employers plan on hiring more staff in the coming quarter while they themselves have reduced headcount by 16% across Australia and New Zealand, mostly in recruitment support and back-office staff.

Don’t we live in boring times?  Fingers crossed next week will be a different story.  If the MED stick to their guns and start appointing AOG panelists next week then at least the Wellington market can start to move again.  Doubts have been cast over the relevance of some of Statistics NZ’s figures where the truth of the matter is that full-time employment improved by 0.8% indicating more Perm recruitment opportunities for recruitment firms, particularly in the largest Auckland market.  And as for Christchurch, at least the release of the new City Plan will stimulate investment in property, business, and hopefully attract talent back to the region again.  That is going to be one cool city to live in one day and I repeat what I said a couple of weeks ago in that Christchurch is a place where recruiters can have a very bright future if they are in a position where they can relocate into the region.

Positivity and optimism are virtues found in many a successful recruiter.  Keep digging deep to find that positivity to keep going, things will get moving again one day!

Oh and as there’s not much happening this week, why not take a moment to complete our 3-minute survey about culture and engagement in the New Zealand recruitment industry?  Responses are completely anonymous and will form part of a white paper looking into best practice for creating a workplace culture that will attract and retain the top recruitment talent to your firms.

Take Survey


Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.

One Comment

  • George Smith3636 says:

    If the entire Wellington recruitment industry is relying on the government tender, in short as an industry we are stuffed, and need to exit stage left job fillers and bring back hunters and fire anyone if they miss targets 3 months running.

    The recruitment industry needs to HTFU  – yes we need to keep service levels up and be better at working closely with clients but I strongly believe recruiters over time almost think they are calling the shots rather than the clients and this has bred some very lazy and tardy practices, and IMHO the quality of recruiter has slipped.

    If we wind the clock back to recruiters like Roger Lampen, Kevin Chappell,John Lacey,Paul Parry – these guys were awesome to watch in action, and there was NEVER any complaining, just bloody minded determination and drive and leading from the front.

    They did well, were successful and were revered as competitors and bred a success culture – if you were not succeeding you did not last – wasn’t personal, just the way it was – but if 

    They would no doubt of competed for the government tender, but it would not have been their only focus – you were always taught full margin/fee business was the key focus as a consultant and you were taught to chase it with vigour and determination and were rewarded more so for that than cut price/preferred business ( i’e’ higher commission rates )

    If you look around at some of the successful locally owned recruiters today you’ll see many have come from or had expsure to the people above….the whiners generally seem to have some through the “system” of larger corporate models where the PSA is everything and no idea how to survive if they cannot get a “delivery model” in place. 

    Until ( and it will never happen ) clients want to pay retainers, we all need to have a good hard look and get a bit more decisive and driven around hunting for and converting full margin business rather than sticking our noses in the trough in PSA world

    The industry in general is worse of for it and standard of recruiter has dropped markedly

    Just saying

    Have a great weekend