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All Bets Are Off

By May 1, 2020No Comments

I’ve been listening to a lot of Country music recently. Maybe it’s my Titirangi-bound self isolation conjuring up fantasies of a lonesome cowboy, squinting across the prairie. Or perhaps the bleak economic outlook has slung me into a bout of maudlin self-pity which makes songs like “She’s actin’ single (I’m drinkin’ doubles)” so appealing. Maybe I just have very bad taste in music. Regardless, I think there’s a lot we can all learn from a middle-aged man in a silly hat and a lap steel guitar. For example, in his crossover mega hit “The Gambler”, one of the recently departed greats Kenny Rogers gives us some sage advice;

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run

Although not a sports gambler myself, I am a fan of an outlandish prediction. Those “lucky” enough to be friends with me on Facebook may remember my prediction that Boris Johnson would be dead within a week of contracting Covid-19. 1-0 to the Gods. Thankfully (for my own ego), back in September 2019, I wrote a blog predicting a global recession in 2020. I’d love to claim to be the Nostradamus of Recruitment, however, there were many people smarter than me already calling it. Still, I’m claiming that one. Back in January of this year, I seemed to forget my September prediction and wrote this blog. In it, I predict a number of dead cert calls for a bull recruitment market in 2020. These included: An Australian firm launching in New Zealand thinking it a soft touch, various predictions about the SARAs and that fucking stupid event the RCSA do, record billing quarters, and Recruitment leaders shagging junior staff members. All these punts would have come in on any other year. But then something extraordinary happened.

A Chinese person had sex with a bat.

Well I don’t know if that’s what actually happened, but you get my point. And all of a sudden, all my sure-thing bets are off. No Aussie firm is opening new offices anywhere, the SARAs and RCSA Barn Dance will only exist on Zoom, no one’s billing shit, and with remote working and no pubs, the chance of a recruitment boss sliding his luncheon meat lance into a nubile candidate manager are between slim and none. That is not social distancing. Given these exceptional circumstances, this is the time for me to cash in whatever chips I have left and heed Rogers’ advice and walk away. However, like all degenerate gamblers, and given the outrageous circumstances, I think I should be allowed another stab at making a few predictions for the rest of 2020. So here goes:

1) Construction and Trades & Labour recruiters are going to be OK. You may feel like you’ve been kicked in the chuff currently, but there’s a lot of cash coming your way- mostly in government funded projects. There will still be more candidates floating around, so extra points if you work in the contract or temp space.

2) IT recruiters will be OK. Fucking IT recruiters. They’re always OK.

3) There will be a long queue of people wanting to “go internal”. Most will claim this was always in the plan. All will end up in my inbox.

4) Recruitment for all will be more about selection and less about attraction. Jack Kerouac could right a SEEK ad right now and get a thousand applicants. Our value to our clients will be in sniffing out the best.

5) Perm corporate recruiters (Sales, Marketing, Finance, HR etc) will be hit pretty hard. Bonus point to the first Perm Corporate Recruiter who comments below telling me how their “unique approach” means they’re absolutely “smashing it”.

6) One Global Recruitment firm will pull out of New Zealand….

7) Sanctimonious Recruiters and Recruitment leaders will simultaneously bang on about how much they support their candidates and employees, whilst screwing all their candidates over and laying off staff at the first whiff of trouble.

8) Many “one man band” recruitment firms will launch. This is one prediction I got right last time round. Except this time, the reason is slightly different. Now we’ve all realised that the only money we need is to pay the mortgage and buy wine, running a small, home-based operation sounds quite appealing.

9) Once lockdown is over, some Recruitment Managers might, on occasion, let their staff work from home, and not automatically assume that it’s an 8 hour amyl nitrite-fuelled PornHub extravaganza.

10) Fundamentally, and most importantly, thanks to the sterling work of the New Zealand Government, we’ll all be safe and well, and most of us will still be filling roles in 2021.

Anyway, that’s enough from me. This is now committed to digital history, so feel free to berate me once I’m proven wrong yet again. Stay safe, and visit your closest place of exercise, not your favourite.