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Why The Recruitment Process Isn't Working?

Nov 27, 2007
The structure of the Australian recruitment industry is fundamentally flawed, argues Abacus Recruitment's Toby Marshall, and both clients and job seekers are losing out.

Scan the employment classifieds in any newspaper and it appears that recruitment companies have a pretty tight stranglehold on the talent on offer. Correct? Not so. Australian organisations have long been persuaded by recruiters that engaging a recruitment firm is the only effective way to find the talent they need in a market that is suffering from a (perceived) skill shortage and shrinking labour pool. What they are failing to identify, however, are two huge pools of talent that continue to go largely unnoticed: mothers with young children and older, semi-retired workers.

As a recruitment specialist with over 16 years of experience and analysis of the employment market, I continually find myself coming to the same conclusion: that the structure and dynamics of the recruitment industry in Australia are so fundamentally flawed that business is wasting millions in fees and failing to connect effectively with their ideal candidates. The issue of under utilised talent is a big issue and in my opinion only one of the by-products of this very ineffective recruitment system.

In an era where employee retention has become such an issue for so many organizations, a quick-fix mentality driven by short-term results and measured purely by commissions earned and classified advertising space sold offers, in my opinion, no framework for optimal long-term results.

Consider this: Recruitment firms only have access to a small percentage of the available jobs out there. In fact, many are not advertised or are hidden. It is estimated that up to 80% of hobs are hidden as only 10% of positions ever make their way into the hands of recruitment companies. And given the proliferation of agencies vying for a share of the lucrative commission, at best even the largest, most well-resourced recruitment firm has only 2% of the job market in a job seekers sector. How many of you can put your hands up and say you honestly don't agree with this? Not many.

But herein lies the bigger problem. As the job seeker is not the one paying the recruiters they are not the recruiter's number one priority. Recruiters, rather than looking to get maximum employee/employer math are focused solely on grabbing the closest fit in the shortest possible time and scooping up the commissions. Ultimately they are being rewarded for short-term success not long-term employee retention.
About the Author
Ranju assistant to Toby has appeared on national television on Channel Ten, has been featured
On the ABC (TV and radio) and has been interviewed and featured in all the major Australian newspapers and business magazines. For a familiar and simple solution to online recruitment just visit: www.abacusrecruit.com.au
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