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Recruiters must embrace current challenges


Recruiters must embrace current challenges to shape the workforce of the future: State of the Industry Address

Friday 28 November 2008 - The current financial crisis has presented recruiters with a unique opportunity to stamp the industry’s mark on the Australian and New Zealand economies and national futures, the President of the RCSA said at a dinner last night.

Speaking at the State of the Industry Address in Melbourne, Mr Stephen Shepherd MRCSA said the year ahead will undoubtedly be tough, but was nevertheless confident in the industry’s ability to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of its customers.

“Tough times build strength and resilience”, said Mr Shepherd. 

“We are Members of an industry that is a positive force in society and serves the noble purpose of connecting people with work. Now more than ever before we have an opportunity to demonstrate our worth to employers, to candidates and to governments. We have an opportunity to shape the workforce of the future”, he added.

Mr Shepherd said the talent shortage in recent years has ensured customers have a clear understanding of the value of the workforce.  “Whilst there may be a loosening of the candidate market in the short term, the underlying demographic factors which have driven the skills shortage will remain for some time”, he said.

These underlying trends were the focus of guest speaker and leading demographer

Mr Salt outlined the impact that generational trends will have on the labour market and reasoned this will ultimately change the face of the Australian workforce.  

Mr Salt said there was a ‘demographic faultline’ running through the Australian labour force. Generational gaps will see the number of new entrants to the workforce decrease steadily over the next 50 years. As baby boomers get closer to retirement he said it was likely that the western world would increasingly turn to migration to ‘plug the boomer gap’.

Mr Salt also highlighted the different characteristics and motivations that drive each of the generations currently in the workforce - pointing to the significant impact of technology in driving new behaviours in the workplace and resulting in the contraction of certain industries. 

Coupled with the current economic climate, these generational factors will guarantee the changing face of the Australian labour force and will challenge the industry. 

Quoting an international speaker from the RCSA’s annual conference Mr Shepherd said, “there is a tremendous opportunity for us as an industry to emerge from the current market climate as an industry of talent management consultants.”

Mr Shepherd called for Members to rise to the challenge by demonstrating to their customers their value as a trusted advisor, helping them to drive costs down whilst at the same time helping them to access the best talent that will see them through these tougher times.

As employers resolve to sit tight until some sense of certainty returns, clients will look for both continuity and flexibility in the way they engage staff and the ability to match talent to workload.

“We are uniquely placed to elevate our strategic position within our customers and become the trusted voices counselling them on how best to respond to the workforce and economic trends. This will ensure that when the current crisis subsides we are in the best position to continue servicing our clients as the face of the Australian workforce changes over time”, said Mr Shepherd.


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