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It’s currently 8.19am on Friday 22nd December. I’m sitting alone in my office and have just poured myself a big glass of port. Many regular readers may assume that drinking fortified wine pre-9am was a regular occurrence for me on a blog day. Rest assured, it is not. Very rarely do I touch a drop prior to midday, and I can count the times I was truly “drunk” in 2023 on 4 fingers. My obnoxious blogs are never alcohol fuelled. I am just plain obnoxious. So what is the reason for the morning port? Well, it’s you. After promising some festive cheer in the blog for the past two weeks, I’m hoping to artificially create it via the Winehouse method. Hopefully, this sacrifice to my liver and already-sky-high blood pressure, is your gain. Let’s see how we go.

In my defence, 2023 has been a tough year to reflect back on. In loose order, we’ve had rains and floods, interest rate hikes, massive delays and f*ck-arounds on the AoG procurement process, more floods, a big sink hole, Rugby World Cup disappointment, the Auckland Council sub-panel distraction, the promise to destroy Government contracting, Palestinians getting blown up by Zionists, an election, a long wait for a government, a government formed by anti-abortionist Luxon, 5ft sh*t-weasel Seymour, and geriatric self-loathing closet Māori Peters, kids with cigarettes, and a tax hole bigger than yo’ momma. Specifically for the recruitment world, I am yet to speak to a well-established business who has had a good year. “OK” maybe, but not good. Anecdotally, most quality firms I speak with would confess to being about 20% down on last year. Looking at our sister business JOYN, that sounds about right. However, this is Recruiters we’re talking about. If they’re telling me they’re 20% down, the reality could be much worse. Just look at those poor folks at ELE who went bust this week leaving over a thousand without work just before Christmas.

So what is there to fill our cup with festive cheer?

Well, for a start, there’s relativity. This year has been tough for a number of reasons beyond a recruiter’s control. If we stop judging ourselves by last year, most of us have actually done relatively well. If every firm is at least 20% down, and your billings are 19% down, then you’ve grown as a recruiter. Hell, if your billings are 30% down and you still have a profitable desk, then you’re still, in the words of sex-drug-actor Charlie Sheen, “winning”. In fact, I’d go as far to say that anyone, or any business, who has remained profitable, has had a successful year given the circumstances.

There’s also hope. I get the sense that a lot of crap was crammed into this year. Perhaps two years’ worth. Like ripping off a wax strip, the trick is a firm grip and a very quick tug. This year, we had the quick tug. Perhaps next year we will wake up with the smooth vagina? The fact that we now at least have a Government, AoG is all done for years, and interest rates have finally taken a dip, means that we have to go into 2024 with a sizeable chunk of hope.

There’s also a lot of successes. Regardless of what some say, this market has not been as hard as other markets us older recruiters have witnessed. The lights are still on in Aotearoa, and us Recruiters have continued to make placements. It’s been harder, and we’ve worked harder, but hard work is character building. Ask any old scaffolder with a f*cked back. Personally, I’ve had lots of fun running the Rec-to-rec desk here at Rice. We’ve re-branded, built a fantastic website with cool tools including New Zealand’s biggest and most accurate recruiter salary survey, and made some great placements with Potentia, Tribe, Hays, Absolute IT, Hunter Campbell, Find Recruitment, Stellar Recruitment, Digital Garage, 1st Call, Bureau, Franklin Smith, Talent International, Assemble, CoLegal, Alexander James, Rob Law Max, and hopefully one more come CoB today. Unfortunately, I’m yet to hear back from Consult. Thanks to all of the above for your business by the way.

And finally, if all else fails to get you swaying to Shane MacGowan, there’s port. Give it a go.

That’s it until next year folks. If you’ve enjoyed the blogs this year, feel free to swing by Vultures this afternoon and buy me a pint. Merry Christmas.