All data in this article are an average of what I have been able to find on both the Polish and French markets, because for once both behave in a similar manner.
The situation of the past 18 (26 in France) months:
As candidates: Trapped/stuck in the same companies for the last years, often obliged to make do without investments or interesting projects, getting motivation through minimal (frozen?) salary increases and limited bonuses.
As employers: Difficulties to get the budget for recruitments: salary mass could not increase and investments on proper recruitment tools and services were limited by tight cost control policies. The best candidates were impossible to attract and/or taking no chance: sticking to their positions, as they were scared of induction failure and being left unemployed on a market that everyone was qualifying as depressed/in crisis.
As recruitment companies: Not a single client wanting to pay at the right level for the service they expected; not many orders anyway. Not many candidates on the market, except the unemployed ones that the clients think they can find without help and do not want to be presented by consultancies.
Finally this has changed!
The recruitment business is approximately 40% higher on a year-to-date basis if you listen to what the head-hunters say and the job advertisement volume on paying web portals has risen by 33%. Even truer on free sites: just take a look at how many positions recruitment professional advertise on Linkedin on a weekly basis.
More business for the companies who provide recruitment services, more opportunities for the candidates to compare what they have to what they could have, and ultimately more choice for the employers.
The number of resignations of candidates from ongoing recruitment processes is very significantly higher. It is impossible to find market data on this, but if I use Accetis as a reference: between 1 and 2 candidates out of 5 drop out of every recruitment process (close to 0 in 2013). This occurs mostly during the selection and validation phases, but with more dire consequences it happens upon receiving offers or -worst- after having accepting them (e.g. during notice or trial periods).
The companies’ turn-over ratios are up, especially at mid-management levels: high potentials, key people, fast-trackers… hand over their resignation without any warning signs. That implies more recruitment costs and/or increase of salary mass. Because companies have to propose counter-offers and if they don’t, they mechanically recruit more expensive individuals (when the market is up you almost always have to offer higher salaries than the ones you are already paying internally).
These, along with the higher number of candidates open for a change, usually leads employers to be more selective with applicants: the processes include more steps, they want to compare with more candidates.
The potential availability of more currently-employed candidates (the market is good: they are less afraid of taking risks) makes it harder for unemployed managers, especially executives always considered very expensive, to find a good solution. Even if unemployed professionals are available faster, many employers consider -without solid ground to prove it, I know- they are on a negative trend vs candidates in position…
For a long time the recruitment market had been down. It will take a few months for all the actors to re-adjust and the first half of 2014 will probably be a rough ride for everybody involved.
No complaint here, let’s just be smart and adapt faster than the others so we benefit even more from the positive trend!
A warm thank you to Sabrina, Didier and Teo: our discussions of the last weeks gave me the idea to look at the situation under new angles…