Monday, March 9, 2009

The downturn bites

Over here at recruitment advertising and strategy towers, we feel the downturn as much as anyone. If our clients aren't placing advertisements, we don't get media commission or the production charge, and the transactional side of our business takes a nose dive. Over the past few months, we've all felt it.

So it's no surprise to us that latest news from the ANZ job ad series shows newspaper job ads fell 25.2% last month. In context, this means they're now down 55.4% year-on-year - the steepest fall in print vacancies since the bank began measuring them in the mid-1970s. Online ads fell 9.4% in February, and are down 38.6% year-on-year.

We're in recruitment freefall.

But it wasn't always like this. Employers have experienced a very tight market for the past few years, which has forced them to be more competitive in attracting the best talent. They've needed to think more creatively, realising that a standard ad in the recruitment pages will no longer reap the results it once did. A recruiter could no longer afford to disregard failed applicants because in doing so they would be getting rid of valuable talent that could fill a different, but nonetheless critical, role.

In doing so, employers have stumbled upon the idea that - like it or not - they have an employer brand. And they have the power to do something about it.

Their employer brand isn't contained in their logo, design guidelines or the values statement posted on their website. But it is there, an intagible concept, containing the myriad of ideas that employees and candidates have about the organisation. Employers can influence these ideas - if they don't others will do it for them.

Some of our clients realise the importance of this work. And they're working with us to achieve great results of increased engagement, alignment, and productivity. We're helping to shape beliefs - it's important work, and will ultimately reap the rewards.

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