Happy New Year and welcome to 2019! After a good break over Christmas, Hunter Campbell returned to work on 7th January. We often expect a sluggish start in January, particularly when we have a busy run-in to the end of year with high levels of recruitment activity. We were, however, pleasantly surprised, as companies moved ahead with recruitment early in the year and we stayed busy throughout January.
Why is recruitment activity so high?
An incredibly low unemployment rate of 3.9% (down from 4.4% in the previous quarter), combined with a skills shortage is certainly helping the demand for supply chain professionals. Talking to our clients a consistent theme was, that if hiring managers were back at work, they wanted to move ahead with recruitment to get ahead of their competition and to confirm appointments as soon as possible in the New Year.
Despite many of us enjoying the summer holiday and staying away from Auckland, many more have made New Year’s resolutions to take on a new challenge and are actively exploring new career options early in the year. January is not as challenging a time to recruit as previously – people are available for a video interview and many will be flexible and drive home early, if a final face-to-face interview is required.
What are the skills most in demand?
There has been a high demand for temporary employees who offer flexible and immediate solutions. There has been a particularly high demand for candidates with experience in demand planning and supply planning and analysis.
Recruitment activity for permanent opportunities has also started well. We have \seen an uplift in the demand for candidates for leadership roles in supply chain, and even more so in manufacturing and operations – Production Managers, Site Managers and Operations Managers. Companies Hunter Campbell are working with are focused on 2019 as the year to bring inspirational leadership, set career succession plans, and up-skill, motivate and retain their existing teams – a prudent move given the acute talent shortage in some areas.
Looking ahead in 2019 – three recommendations for employers:
Supply chain professionals continue to be in high demand and this will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future. High performing individuals, should they choose to consider a career move, are likely to have multiple options. While salary is a factor, individuals are likely to look for a challenge, a role that fulfils them and favourable working conditions – including flexible and potential work-from-home options. If you want to recruit or retain these individuals, it is worth going the extra mile.
Manage your employment brand and make the candidate experience count
Finding candidates is the first step in winning the war for talent. Persuading in-demand professionals to join your firm over another is just as much of a challenge.
Every company’s reputation is already out there for all to see, and social media sites such as Glassdoor serve to provide feedback from current and past employees to help prospective clients to do their homework before an interview is even in their diary. It is increasingly important to candidates that they find roles with organisations they relate to and makes them feel invested in the success of their teams
The interview process is scary enough for most candidates; therefore, ensure that you make the experience they have memorable (in the right way obviously). They should leave the interview with positive thoughts about both the interviewers and the business. You also need to be able to understand the skills of the candidate – can they do the role? Do they fit in to your culture? Create an interview process that is effective at revealing future leaders and making the experience as positive as possible for the interviewees.
Streamlining your time to hire
Demand for the best professionals with the most relevant skills will continue to grow in the year ahead – and acting more quickly to secure chosen candidates must be high on businesses’ agendas.
In the last quarter of 2018, and so far in 2019, we have found that candidates are increasingly attracting multiple offers and employers who run a lengthy recruitment process have been left disappointed when the preferred candidate takes another offer.
Focus on retention
Once you have attracted and secured the right people, the next challenge is to ensure they stay. Retention strategies for the coming year should aim to focus more on the human-ﬁrst approach, beginning with leadership techniques. Employees are most happy at work when they felt a sense of appreciation, pride in their organisation and when they are treated with fairness and respect.
Another reason for candidates to leave their roles is that an employer is unable to provide a clear development path, including training. Candidates are more likely to quit their jobs if this is the case compared with two or three years ago.
Of course, many people will be tempted to change employers for an equivalent position with better remuneration. We have seen in supply chain, that salary increases in recent years have outstripped typical annual salary increases (this is particularly true for demand planning, S&OP and IBP). Feel free to contact Hunter Campbell if you would like to check you’re still offering competitive salary packages.
Wayne Fry is a Senior Consultant at Hunter Campbell and specialises in the recruitment of Supply Chain, Procurement & Operations in New Zealand. Hunter Campbell is a specialist recruitment business for supply chain, procurement, finance, and accounting. For more news and views visit our website by clicking here see what opportunities we have available here or follow us on LinkedIn