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This week’s top employment story comes to us by way of Meta, the parent company of Facebook. Following disastrous advertising revenue in a post-Covid world, and heavy investment in creating a virtual world as this one is rubbish, Zuckerberg has had to give the old heave-ho to 11,000 workers globally. A big number, representing 1 in 8 of the total workforce. Meta are also extending their hiring freeze, and moving their offices from Menlo Park, to a nice 50sqm facility above KFC on Leighton Buzzard High Street. Of these 11,000, the majority of employees sit within the “business” team and of course….recruitment.

Now I don’t know how many internal recruiters work for Facebook, but when your business employs nearly 90,000, it’ll be a lot. Indeed, by LinkedIn feed has been inundated with posts from Facebook Recruiters thanking their colleagues for the laughs and talking about “time out” before looking for their next “gig”. Many Kiwis are amongst them. It is not just Meta who have been trimming some post covid pounds however. Snap Inc, Microsoft, and of course Twitter are also taking a hatchet to their businesses. And here’s the thing. When businesses want to save some cash, who is the very first neck on the block? Our friend the phone call-ignoring email-jockey Internal Recruiter.

Once upon a time and not so long ago, Internal Recruit was a comparative safe haven. I came to Aotearoa in 2011 and the country was still reeling from some tough times. Back then, Internal Recruitment was seen as the natural harbour for the recruiter with a mortgage during a financial storm. Yes, the money was crap, with experienced recruiters getting paid $65k total, but you were safe. The high risk, yet high reward profession was that of the flashing blades of Agency land. Still, there was a bun fight for any internal role I advertised, with agency recruiters taking big pay cuts for what was seen as safe, easy, stress-free, dependable, and boring.

Fast-forward to the Chinese Government genetically engineering a virus to take down a secret cabal of elite paedophiles and the second gunman on the grassy knoll, and things worked out quite differently. After the initial shit-the-bed shock of Lockdown 1, average to excellent performers in agencies were surprisingly safe. Agency owners had enough about them to realise that once we can go out and play again, the market is going to be pumping. Surprisingly few lost their jobs, and many of those who did, probably would have anyway.

In a post-covid world, I hear of many more Internal Recruiters lose their job. Contracts are finished early. Work dries up. The impending recession is causing businesses to downsize. And in every instance, the first to go is HR. And that, often sadly, is where you Internal Recruiters sit. And this is the problem with being an Internal Recruiter. If you are an Agency Recruiter and bill loads of money and refrain from putting your genitals where they don’t belong, you are in an incredibly safe job. No matter the economic climate. If, on the other hand, you are a very high-performing internal recruiter, your job is on the line the second someone else sucks the teat of a winged mammal. Sadly and unfairly, you are not the master of your own destiny, and your performance doesn’t matter. You are treated the same as that lazy, almost-always-male colleague, who fills no roles and is crap at admin.

There is a saving grace however for you Internal folks. They money is now really good. If you want a high basic with little management responsibility – then internal will take you there quicker than agency. There are plenty of internal recruiters sitting on $120k+ with zero direct reports. Those of you who work for global recruitment agencies: what size team are you having to manage for that basic? What is the revenue expectation on that team? Yes, you get a bonus (for now), but how is the next 24 months looking in this politically unstable, overspent, war-filled world we find ourselves in?

Anyway, hopefully some food for thought. If you are working internally and want to see what this agency stuff is all about, then hit up the big man Scott Burnett. And if your agency side and like the sound of the high-risk, high-reward world of internal (or are just on a pre-covid package), drop yours truly a message. And if that’s too forward for you, why not come along to New Zealand’s premier Recruitment knees up, the Rice Pow Wow on the 8th December and hit us up over a mulled wine? There’s still a few tickets left but you’ll need to RSVP here quicksmart.