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*This article was originally published in InSight 93, 5 August, 2009  


With apologies to Phil Collins, who was singing about the collapse of his first marriage after his then-wife ran off with their painter and decorator, I can definitely feel something coming in the (recruitment) air right about now.


Do you feel it too?


Given how focused you are on generating and filling jobs to keep cash flow in the black, I wouldn’t blame you if you hadn’t felt it, but the evidence has been piling up recently.


Here are some clues as to what I am talking about, taken from assorted recruitment industry media stories (well mostly actually) in just the past two weeks:, 31 July 2009  

Indian recruitment offshoring specialist lands in Australia – IMS (takes) on the “non-core, process” elements of the recruitment function, including sourcing, CV formatting, interviewing, reference checking, shortlisting, talent-pooling and passive candidate searches. IMS, headquartered in the north-western Indian city of Ahmedabad, has 150 consultants (of which) about 90 were working for offshore recruitment companies. The offshoring business started with two clients in the United Kingdom in mid-2007, and now had 70 contracts there. Australia was the first market it was entering outside the UK., 30 July 2009  

Talent2 managing director Andrew Banks, … noted that while traditional recruitment revenue (for the 2008/09 financial year) dropped 16% to $114.4 million, managed services revenue climbed 21%, to now make up half of the entire business at $114.3 million., 28 July 2009  

Global procurement and recruitment vendor management company Comensura has won a three-year deal to manage all agency recruitment for Melbourne City Council. 27 July, 2009  

Buckinghamshire County Council and multi-sector recruiter Hays have combined to introduce a system for jobseekers, aimed at improving the applicant experience and saving the council £690,000 in its first year. The new recruitment service will: facilitate easier job searches and applications using online recruitment, cut time applications take to process, keep applicants in touch with progress, and build a talent pool of quality applicants who have expressed an interest in working for the council., 27 July 2009  

The Sydney City Council has finalised the winners of its recent RFT for all temporary recruitment, as well as some perm. Some 40 agencies put forward tenders for the two-year deal. The council appointed 10 companies as generalist perm providers, and selected a range of agencies to cover 17 categories of temporary recruitment., 24 July 2009  

Listed beverage giant Foster’s Group has appointed Futurestep to take over its RPO contract, under an expanded model. … the new RPO deal would be enlarged to cover all of the company’s global operations. The Australian business would transition to Futurestep in August, and the Americas and Europe operations, which currently use their own regional suppliers, would follow later in the year., 21 July 2009  

Brisbane City Council has named the successful tenderers for its new recruitment panel for white-collar and call centre recruitment. It is one of Australia’s most sought-after recruitment panels, particularly in this market. Close to 90 recruitment companies tendered for the work. Some 14 agencies were selected.


Do you feel it now?


The feeling (I would call it ‘evidence’) that the old recruitment business model is being rapidly superseded due to a more demanding, sophisticated, global, value-driven and price-conscious type of client.


Don’t believe me? Think I’m over- dramatising things?


I might be right. I might be wrong.


What are you doing to understand how your clients are viewing the role of external recruitment agencies?


Are you being pro-active or re-active? Or are you just hoping normal service will resume when the global economic storm clouds have passed?


Could your core recruitment business be at stake?


As CD sales continue to decline and touring becomes a more expensive and risky proposition, Phil Collins has activated Plan B by writing music for Broadway (Tarzan), by playing himself and singing in the PlayStation video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories and by licensing his music for chocolate company commercials.


He may be 58, bald, three times divorced, hitless since Bob Hawke was Prime Minister and terminally uncool, but Phil Collins has continued to diversify, re-invent himself and make money across 40 years in a radically changed industry.


What’s your Plan B if the old recruitment model stops being profitable?


Footnote (October 2011):   Phil Collins posted a statement on his website on 7 March, 2011, announcing his retirement from music, to be a full- time dad to his two young sons (from his third, now ex-wife).



Thanks to Specialist News Pty Ltd for permission to re-produce the selected sections from the six articles I have quoted from

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