Tuesday, 4 August 2009

The State of Play

First: Contacts

At Picture More we understand the importance of strong business relationships for long term success in this industry. We have a large network of professionals that we have known for years; many of these are now personal acquaintances as well as business partners. This is essential for us and, as we suggested in the last blog, good practice for any ambitious professional aiming to advance their career. A lot of our longest standing contacts are in IT related disciplines but we also have a rapidly growing marketing and sales network due to our new division that specialises in those areas. No matter which contacts we talk to we are always asked what trends we have noticed in the employment market. As the media continues to talk of “green shoots” of recovery we’d like to use this week’s blog to give our opinion.

Prospects for Growth

On a day to day basis our view of the market is framed by our activity with clients. From this comparatively narrow perspective the news is good and as we have clients in many different sectors it’s certainly a positive indicator. Some organisations that had become dormant from a recruitment point of view have become active again and we have seen some senior roles come in. Importantly, the contracting market is also opening up. Looking at the market beyond the frontier of our client base the last year has been pretty bleak and there have been consistent month on month falls in advertised positions. Depending which source you looked at, the number of new IT roles fell by 60-70% and sales and marketing roles fell by more than half. The good news is that this trend seems to have levelled out now and the numbers are even starting to climb gently in certain sectors.

Recruitment "Bounce"

We had felt that this bounce would have to come soon and improving performance from banks, mining stocks and house builders may boost confidence enough to spark a recovery in recruitment. Many companies have imposed recruitment freezes, removed all contractors and made heavy cuts in IT and marketing staff. In some cases it is felt that these cuts went too far and there will need to be a mini recruitment drive to redress the balance. At the same time we have seen other companies that haven’t cut back so far and are actually using this relatively quiet time to look at their infrastructure and systems architecture. All this requires specific expertise which brings us back into play.

Another trend that arises out of this climate is a push for exact fit. Companies justifiably feel they are in a market where they can hold out for the “perfect” candidate. Professional consultancies like Picture More will always strive to find perfect matches anyway but the bar is clearly being raised.


So how should our candidates feel and what should they do? Feel positive! No-one was immune from redundancy or pay freezes over the last few months. Manage your CVs and on-line profiles to include an increased level of detail of relevant, recent experience. Make sure to mention anything that differentiates you, including prestigious former employers. Think strategically about the positions you want to find and make sure to package profiles accordingly. Realistically that is going to mean doing some in depth research on prospective employers. It’s a tough market but when the going gets tough....

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