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Hiring update – how bad is it out there?

 
#1 Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
29/04/2009 16:08

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com)

Just published a new editorial piece: "<a href=http://news.top-consultant.com/UK/news_story.aspx?ID=5748 target=_blank>Hiring update – how bad is it out there?</a>"

I've spoken to clients and consulting contacts 'til I'm blue in the face to try and reach a conclusion on this. Would <b>really appreciate</b> forum comments from anyone who can either add weight to my conclusions or indeed counter them with evidence / insights to the contrary.

Thanks

Tony Restell

Top-Consultant.com

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#2 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
29/04/2009 16:55

Commentator to Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) (#1)

Hi Tony, I think you've got it right in your article. There IS activity out there, but it's different to what we've seen before. I think a few of the really big companies - the slow, lumbering ones which have been too dependent on milking a small number of very rich FTSE clients for the last decade - are finding it tough. They're having to cut costs and become efficient - or at least, this is what they'll have to do until they win a few more billion pound contracts. Smaller companies, which have always been living 'hand to mouth', see it pretty much as 'business as usual'. It's the smaller companies that will prop up the recruitment market until the clients of the big ones are prepared to get their credit cards out again.

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#3 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
30/04/2009 09:47

Twopenniesworth to Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) (#1)

You're right things are pretty grim in strategy consulting and no signs of an upturn this year on that front. Agree with Commentator that it's the smaller niche firms who are seeing the current conditions as an opportunity to "punch above their weight" in terms of securing hires with salary packages and brands that 18 months ago simply wouldn't have attracted the same calibre of individual.

Indications are it'll only be a few more months until the major brands are back in the hiring game again (outside of strategy). There'll be a tipping point when they start seeing clients signing off on new projects again and you can expect a decent increase in hiring at that time.

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#4 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
30/04/2009 10:52

jobhunter to Twopenniesworth (#3)

I have a background in consulting and industry in commercial roles. I am in my 40s so have been through job hunting several times in the past and was made redundant a few months ago.

This time is much, much worse. I am embarassed (except on an anonymous forum) to admit that I have had zero interviews in 2 months. When I was last looking for a role I was able to generate 2-4 interviews a month, mostly from advertised roles. My CV is not that different - if anything better than before as it is now more tailored for each role. I have made just as many applications per week as before. The only difference is the economy.

Also, as part of my networking I have called almost everyone I ever worked with. It is shocking how many of them are in the same position having been made redundant, on short time, or worried about redundancy.

This week for the first time I have had two strong expressions of interest for interviews in the next couple of weeks. Could be the "green shoots" Tony mentions?

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#5 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
30/04/2009 10:59

Unemployed Stratigist to jobhunter (#4)

I have to agree with you Jobhunter and say that its absolutely tragic.

I have much less experience, gained in several good consulting firms - and have been redundant since January. Nothing moved until April, and even so its 200 candidates for 1 role.

I recently interviewed at a big consulting company that i would have NEVER considered 1 year ago. The people at the assesment centre were so overeducated / skilled it was crazy... People from Harvard, hedge funds, private equity - now settling to interview for roles at 40k a year...

Furthermore a close friend works in the recruitment office of one of the MBB. He says that they are recieving an average of 200 experienced hire CV's a month, of which 150 in normal circumstances would be of a calibre to start interviewing!!!

My personal opinion is that its going to stagnate much longer before improving. Good luck - we need it.

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#6 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
30/04/2009 11:22

New Job Exception to Unemployed Stratigist (#5)

I've just landed a plum job in industry, stepping out from consulting.

Things, I think, look grim for the foreseeable for consulting firms, hence the change.

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#7 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
30/04/2009 12:26

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) to New Job Exception (#6)

Thanks everyone - some really interesting input here. Keep those insights coming! What's happening in your firm or what are you experiencing in your job hunt?

Tony Restell

Top-Consultant.com

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#8 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
30/04/2009 12:36

Commentator to Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) (#7)

No problem, Tony!

Answering your question, the firm I work for is pretty much stagnant on the hiring front. It's a small boutique, less than 30 staff. If anything, they're letting people drop off naturally (retirement etc) and not replacing them.

Regarding my job hunt, I've noticed that there are still jobs out there, but they are harder to find and are offering lower salaries.

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#9 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
01/05/2009 10:07

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) to Commentator (#8)

A very interesting addition to my article that consulting hiring upturn should be with us later this year...

Hidden within this week's news that Capgemini revenues are stable year-on-year is the staggering statistic that consulting revenues are down 9.8% year-on-year:

<a href=http://www.consultant-news.com/article_display.aspx?p=adp&id=5753>http://www.consultant-news.com/article_display.aspx?p=adp&id=5753</a>

So that's the backdrop against which the recent harsh recruitment climate has to be seen. Quite clearly if consulting revenues are already 10% down at leading firms then consulting is definitely one of the sectors being impacted most quickly by the downturn - but any stabilising of the economy will therefore have a disproportionately positive effect on our sector...

Tony Restell

Top-Consultant.com

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#10 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
01/05/2009 14:19

anon to Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) (#9)

Thought I would contribute to the article and discussion to help give perspective to the job market from my point of view.

I work in the internal consultancy division of a large FTSE-20 Corporate and we have frozen all recruitment except for grads and 'exceptional talent', expenses claims are no longer possible, people on the bench are redeployed to be useful anywhere, training budgets are down to minimum and there is a focus on 'key customers' where we have strong relationships, high margin business and it is where our core competencies lie. The rest of customer contracts will receive less focus I reckon or be scrapped.

They are offering volunary redundancy to many people but are very selective in who they get rid of i.e. rejecting VR for good candidates - this was my experience.

I don't think there will be pay rises, bonuses or hires for the next year possibly 2 from what I read into the financials and headlines.

I use this as an example of the possibly similar state of large corporates and the recession's affect on consultants working in them or consultants winning business from them.

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#11 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
04/05/2009 13:59

Jo to anon (#10)

I also work as an internal consultant for a Fortune-500 company. And the results are very ugly since end of last year. So no pay raises and bonusses this year. In addition a 20% head count reduction and freeze on all vacancies was announced eralier this year. So the atmosphere is below zero.

I am actively looking for another job/employer. My experience is, is that there are quite some jobs available and I already had some interviews. However, companies are very carefull in hiring new people and it is very difficult to gage if the opportunities are real (in some cases I believe that the companies/headhunters are collecting cvs). But, having sais that, the same counts for me that I am very carefull in selecting my new employer - I am in a good position that I am not made redundant, so I even turned down 2 job offers because I didn't like the way these companies treated me.

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#12 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
06/05/2009 10:44

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) to Jo (#11)

What I've certainly been hearing is that there's been a massive "flight to quality" in the last months - that's to say firms are really retrenching and only making hires where there's an absolute fit between candidate and position. Hence the ease with which interviews can be secured has been knocked back quite considerably.

For candidates the upshot of this is that you need to invest far more time in searching for positions rather than applying to positions - you'll have more success investing hours in tracking down 2 or 3 roles that you're really suited to, rather than investing the same time in firing off applications to 10-20 roles that are ball-park right for you.

This is a total change in approach that's needed and my discussions suggest it's not yet something that candidates have fully adjusted to.

Tony Restell

<a href=http://events.top-consultant.com/UK/careerconference.aspx?ID=413>Revitalising Your Consulting Career --- Securing a Career Move in Consulting in 2009</a>

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#13 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
06/05/2009 11:51

jobhunter to Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) (#12)

Tony, I agree that one needs to really make the effort to track down the roles one is really suited for and to tailor your application for these. In the end it is better to be the best on one application than second best on 100.

However I find I am not short of time. I have the time to find almost every role on the market and tailor my CV for all the ones I want to apply for. So I can follow your advice and still apply for all the roles.

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#14 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
21/05/2009 13:47

SP to Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) (#12)

Yes, tony is right. 2 yrs ago, you could get a job if u were a 75% fit. Not anymore, you really need to be 90+% fit not to secure the job.

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#15 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
03/06/2009 17:30

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) to SP (#14)

As regular readers will know, I've been dragged away from the office the last weeks. Interested to hear your thoughts on whether things are improving or deteriorating since I started this thread in April...

Tony Restell

<a href=http://events.top-consultant.com/UK/careerconference.aspx?ID=413>Revitalising Your Consulting Career --- Securing a Career Move in Consulting in 2009</a>

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#16 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
04/06/2009 10:20

Lurgh to Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) (#15)

If this is any indication, most of the calls I get from recruiters these days are about marketing specific candidates to me ( XYZ is a great change mgt expert who has just "come free" from Pwc etc). This is based on recruiters finding my profile on Linkedin and then cold calling trying to sell.

A drastic change from a year ago when they used to call to entice me away to a competitor based upon the same linkedin profile !

Personally I am sitting on a firm offer while in my current role but realise that it is not typical in this climate and down more to luck than anything else.

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#17 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
04/06/2009 12:00

recr to Lurgh (#16)

Lurgh,

I'd be interested to know if this method is worthwhile or whether you (and managers like you) are not receptive to speculative approaches?

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#18 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
04/06/2009 13:50

Lurgh to recr (#17)

recr

Simplest way to answer your question is that currently I don't bother to return voicemails from recruiters who are pitching candidates.

Some reasons :

- In the current climate, focus is not on recruiting so that isn't a priority.

- The odds of a random candidate fitting a specific spec I may be looking for is incredibly low.

- Having a recruiter that I don't know and haven't worked with touting the details of a particular candidate with no relation to any specific needs I might have just suggests an element of desperation. This is unfortunate as any of us could be in this situation tomorrow but I can't deny the feeling that the cream of the crop wouldn't need to resort to this ( they would use their internal network etc) and employers can afford to be choosy.

If I were a recruiter wanting to get traction from a cold call in this climate I would cunningly initiating the conversation by discussing some exciting opportunities for the cold-callee .. you're certain to get interest in this climate. Once you have grabbed attention, gently steer the discussion elsewhere. Still no guarantee of success but you're likely to at least get a reasonable amount of telephone time.

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#19 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
04/06/2009 17:24

recr to Lurgh (#18)

Thanks Lurgh, makes interesting reading.

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#20 RE: Hiring update – how bad is it out there?
04/06/2009 17:27

Management Consultant to recr (#19)

Yeah, I hate phone spam.

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