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What 2015 Has in Store for New Zealand Recruitment*

By January 15, 2015No Comments

Today is the first day of 2015 that I’ve managed to bring myself to wear shoes.  It’s not that I’ve decided to kick 2015 off by plunging into previously uncharted depths of unprofessionalism (we have Sean Walters for that), more that now I’m entering my tenth year living in New Zealand I think I’ve got pretty used to these long summer breaks and slow start to the new recruiting year.  It’s going to be a busy year though, I’m certain of that, and likely to be for many other recruitment agencies locally too.

So with a yawn and a stretch I’m bringing The Whiteboard back out into the open, marker pen at the ready.  Please don’t ask me for specifics for what 2015 has in store for our recruitment sector here in New Zealand though.  I used to try and do things like that.  If you’d asked most recruitment commentators back in 2011, they’d have earnestly promised that by 2015 technology would have replaced the recruiter and the creeping disintermediation of third party recruiters would be complete.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  It’s taken 10 years for scientists to accurately map the brain.  How long it’ll take for them to concoct alogorithms to replace the thinking and mind patterns of recruiters (as twisted as they may be) is likely to take far longer than the length of your future career in this industry.

That doesn’t stop millions of dollars being showered upon disgruntled ex-recruiters with fancy tech-speak and a future-thinking mindset though.  And more will come in 2015.  What was 2014’s Pasiv (slogan “recruitment is broken, we’re fixing it”…no you’re not) will be replicated with a slight twist in some new iteration.  Don’t sweat it though.  One thing that’s for sure is despite all this millions of dollars will also be spent on recruitment agencies in 2015, agencies that actually get results and actually place people into jobs, using the brains of their human recruiter staff.

Which agencies get the largest share of those millions is an interesting notion though.  I caught up with one of Auckland’s recruitment leaders earlier this week and after the usual holiday stories conversation naturally turned towards plans and predictions for 2015.  One thing I’ve always felt pretty sure about, as clients demand more and more that their recruiting dollars be spent with specialist recruiters with deep networks and expertise that doesn’t rely on posting ads online (which they could do themselves etc), is that the larger, global, more generalist recruitment brands would start to get squeezed out and lose relevancy.  However, hearing this week from a Sales Recruiter in one such brand that he is on $91k of billings for January, and reading Ross Clenett’s interesting synopsis of Hays impressive 2013/14 results I’m starting to doubt that prediction myself.

Agencies will be used in 2015.  Candidates will moan about their experience, especially the ones who don’t get the job.  Clients will often use them begrudgingly.  But nothing will really change in this status quo.  The only real determinant of how well a recruiter does in 2015 is how skilled a recruiter they are, how adept they are at identifying opportunities, chasing them down, closing them out, and all of this is really irrelevant of what particular brand they are working for. Certainly the clients using agencies don’t really seem to care.

It’s going to get busy folks.  But it’s also going to be a fun ride.  Happy New Year and welcome back.


* The answer to this titular question isn’t provided in this blog post.  I was inspired by the raft of specious posts being foisted on us by social recruiting experts with click-bait titles like How to Win the War for Talent in 2015.  Most people won’t even get this far and will share the post based on the title anyway.

Jonathan Rice

Director of New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice & Co, co-founder of freelance recruiter platform JOYN, and people-centric technology firm superHUMAN Software. Recruitment innovator, agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.