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A change of approach can break the skills drought

25 January 2005.

A change of approach can break the skills drought.

New Zealand employers have to break the traditional rules of recruitment if they are to weather the current 30-year high resourcing drought for executive staff says a resourcing industry leader.

Executive Taskforce managing director, Kevin Chappell says business and particularly the recruitment industry, has been slow to react to changes in market supply of executive staff that has been occurring over the last two years.

“Instead of adapting to changing circumstance, most have continued down a traditional and single-minded recruitment path which has provided nothing but lost time, cost and frustration,” he says.

The single greatest barrier to full resourcing for many companies is a pre-occupation with the traditional notion of ‘permanent’, full-time employees, he says.

“For the most part this is a notion that is out of step with current market circumstance, and business would be better served by focussing on specific skill needs on a case or project basis rather than trying to continue to lock-down resource on an unrealistic basis of duration.”

Chappell says that by innovating, and by putting focus on immediate skill needs rather than tenure, he has been able to make a significant contribution to the resource needs of a growing number and range of companies.

“In fact, in a number of areas I don’t believe there is a skills shortage,” he says. “It’s just that the distribution of skills has changed – they are not necessarily within the corporates or in the roles that we have for so long expected them to be .”

Chappell says that that means employers have to think not just outside the square, but essentially create a new square for recruitment and resourcing practice and approach.

“We, for example, are finding in-demand skills in some of the most unlikely quarters – sometimes quite distant from a given industry and more often, in a seemingly unrelated role.”

He says companies which, frustrated by following the traditional recruitment approach to no avail, have found and utilised executive skills on a more flexible, and ultimately more advantageous basis.

“ As a result, they are companies able to keep a high level of productivity and perform above the odds.”

Chappell says an added benefit of this approach currently is the avoidance of having to be the highest bidder in the competition for top executive and middle management level skills. However, he believes that will be short-lived if resource scarcity becomes stronger. “Then, I believe we will see a wholesale lift in the cost of resource and not just at the executive level.”


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