Ground control, to 'Major Tom’

Sitting here in WA, a shift is happening…well not really a shift but more of a state of flux…The end of 2013 isn’t coming quick enough for many. Whilst the media spruiks the rising markets of NSW and VIC, WA’s economy looks like a busy hospital triage, on a massive come down from even greater highs. I myself am in the trenches on a daily basis. Here’s a snap shot of what I am seeing and hearing;
Recruitment Agency– For the most part are saying its worse than the GFC
Redundancies – Not a week goes by where some well known company announces hundreds more redundancies. Last week it was WesTrac announcing 600+. I saw my entire recruitment team at a former employer, including myself enjoy redundancy. My employer previous to this has also reduced its internal recruitment capability to 3 here in WA (it was 8 during my time). It’s not just mining services, construction, but EPC and Owner Operators as well. Looking for good, experienced internal recruiters & managers? Perth has an oversupply of them at the moment.
Job Applicants – Wow has the market changed! I recently advertised for a Project Engineer and in the typical WA market this would attract a handful of applications, most of which were from offshore. So far, we’ve received in excess of 180 job applications. 95% are local and the quality is actually pretty strong. For any PE’s reading this, the role has been suspended until further notice. The feedback from job applicants on application response is woeful. This goes back to a previous blog of mine about the importance of brand management and application response rates.
The Market – There is a real lack of ‘new’ infrastructure investment, much of the construction in the North West is moving to operations, there are still concerns over potential additional delays to Roy Hill, and any pick up in the market will not happen until April/May 2014.
What does all this mean from a Recruitment & HR perspective?
2013 – 2014 will see your budgets slashed, that means reduced resources, and little to no investment in efficiency through technology. Be prepared to multi-skill across Recruitment, Mobilisation & HR Generalist and maybe even L&D from an administration perspective.
The massive project recruitment drives are quite simply drying up here in WA. The big recruitment teams will be rationalised to support a more Operational and Maintenance focus.
Prepare to Outsource various aspects of work, or look at suppliers who are providing additional value in relation to support services. Recently I came across an agency which offers $ credits towards training of your personnel should you engage them for your contracting needs. If you can save a few thousand bucks in training, that’s a good thing.
Talent Pooling/Sourcing – If your role combines with mobilisation and/or generalist HR you just wont have time to create valuable talent pools or conduct in-depth sourcing strategies. Maybe another outsourcing opportunity.
Recruitment Advertising– You’re going to have little to no budget for fancy and costly print ads. You’re going to get pummeled with job applications unlike never before, so you’ll need to get targeted in your creative ad writing skills. You’ll need to look at new opportunities to advertise at more cost effective, targeted platforms..actually you should be doing this already, but now is the time to really put your thinking caps on. Don’t forget, to measure your success, and if you work out how to best do this across various advertising mediums, please let me know and I am sure many others will be your bestie and be indebted to you forever. Take a peak at the lack of recruitment related roles being advertised on SEEK, that in itself is a sign of the times. Its been like that for a good part of 6 months.
Referrals – Time to get your network working for you. Never has a time come where networking and referrals is going to help you through these cash strapped times. Remember ‘Stingray‘ the TV Series in the late 80′s…time to call in some favours.
So don’t look for too much recruitment innovation coming out of WA at the moment especially from the corporate side, maybe the odd Recruiter and Recruitment Manager, who will be resourceful, multi-skilled and a little battered and bruised from some really challenging times now, and ahead.
If you enjoyed this post, secure a seat at: The 8th Annual Australasian Talent Conference, for a broader discussion on New Wave Thinking: Driving Simplicity to Create Productive and Efficient Talent Management, 20-22 May 2014, Sydney

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