Recently I attended an event at the National Liberal Club Whitehall where I joined 150 other in-house and agency ‘consultancy’ recruiters to hear the results of this year’s Top Consultant Annual Recruiter and Consultant Survey.
The challenges facing HR teams at consulting firms have arguably never been greater. The range of media available to interact with candidates has ballooned with the widespread adoption of social media and video. Which social media to use and how best to use them is an issue many organisations are wrestling with.
All the while, staff retention is worsening as the range of employers actively hiring continues to rise. Replacement hiring is consequently placing a significant demand on in-house recruiters time. While new hires to fuel growth in key practice areas need to be hired “just in time” to maximise utilisation rates. To compound these challenges, margins in most consulting businesses are such that hiring needs to be achieved through ingenuity and guile rather than by purely throwing money at the problem.” Top-Consultant.com
Much of the findings were perhaps as expected …
• Majority of firms hiring demand is driven by staff leaving rather than actual growth in the industry
• If 20% of staff are leaving firms, then 20% more people are needed just to keep at the same level
• Large pressure on hiring as there are specific project gaps
• Likely to be an increase in hiring across consultancy industry in 2011 as compared to 2010
• Recruitment is likely to be seen across all practice areas aside from Public Sector
• Consultancies hiring from other consultancies will be tough for two reasons: 1) consultants are less keen to move from one consulting role to another, they are more interested in moving into industry 2) consultancies will work very hard to retain staff including counter offers and increasing benefits
• Financial services is back in quite a big way
… but there were some unusual discoveries – particularly around the use of social media in job hunting:
• Consultancy candidates can be reached via social media but according to survey results, consultants are not using these channels to job hunt
• Recruiters view social media as good for brand building, cold approaches and as a strong substitute for a traditional CV database but consultants are not replying to job advertisements via these means
• Job hunting activity: 70% of respondents would try to use personal referrals and recruitment agencies, 41 % would research job options via corporate websites, 30% via social media and only 10% via newspaper
• However, only 5% of actual applications made were through social media!
• Only 15% of actual applications were made via corporate websites – often candidates are put off by the lengthy submission procedure
• By and large consultants are not using Twitter although they are very active on linked in – 80% said they used linked in more than once a week – this makes the previous statistic even more staggering
• It seems there has been no ‘dash’ to social media as a job hunting channel – yet
• For now… it seems agencies and personal referrals are still the preferred option
Elizabeth Biggs is an account manager on the FreshMinds Talent Interim Team