Sunday, September 6, 2009

Yay, the market's rebounding (up a rocky 1% gradient).

Hey, I'm no doomsayer. I'll have a go at anything and I'll work bloody hard to achieve results. But everyone today's been talking about the job market bouncing back. And I think we need to get some perspective.

Because guess what? My figures don't show that.

You see, we measure the volume and value of recruitment ads our clients are running in Australia. We do this on a weekly basis, and guess what else? Our weekly figures show a decline of somewhere in the region of 35% for last week compared with the previous.

(*Ok, a caveat here, we always get weekly blips. My point is, don't uncork the champers just yet, because we're in for a rocky road ahead.)

All of this is on the back of a feeling within the agency (and the industry as a whole) that we've hit the bottom. Yes, strategic projects are ticking along nicely, positive conversations are on-going, and the smart employers are think about how to better engage their people (and recruit more best-fit ones) in time for the upturn.
Hell, some clients already have plans for optimising growth and taking on their competitors (those are the clients I love best).

But note: this doesn't mean we immediately start hoying up the fireworks and having a drunken recruitment industry knees-up on Bondi Beach . A huge vertical Apollo launch of a rebound this is not. More like a strong slog up a 1% gradient, with a reduced-size peleton.

In the US, The Department of Labor released a report on Friday showing job cuts in August were lower than they've been in recent months. But - so says the Associated Press - a deeper look at the data shows it will take millions of new jobs to get America back in the black.

Australia isn't in as much strife as the US. Over here, we have a robust financial system that's allowed us something of a soft landing. And, with the demographic shifts (that won't change overnight), I predict a return to a very tight labour market.
But this is going to be long uphill struggle, and I don't reckon we'll get back to our starting buoyancy until late 2010 at the earliest.

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