The Economic Mount Everest - What It Means for Recruiting

The other day, a client called me to check in on my economic journey. I had to pause and explain it had not been easy, but rather a very crazy roller coaster ride. I remember when this all began with the Financial Services Industry meltdown in 2007. It was intriguing to guage the proportional outcome of services demand that affected the outsourcing market, whether that was with Paychex, with the payroll company I worked for, the staffing industry, or the HR outsourcing market. One would think that HR outsourcing would thrive in such an environment, whether from staffing, HR Project outsourcing or otherwise, but nobody was spared the economic pitfalls, hits, and bruises that would eventually lead to home foreclosures, loss of jobs, or chosen career path, make employers believe that they would need to put more emphasis on skeleton crews, instead of a strategic, and robust staffing engine, etc. It would also lead to government bailouts, a new President, with a new agenda, and a host of other issues that would carry us through a very turbulent 2009. I look back on the journey in awe. It is as though the American spirit still beats brightly within our hearts - when new innovators/entrepreneurs and others emerged from the debacle intent on making it, because they got sick and tired of the company job cutting moves, and wanted to form their own business to gain traction. This inevitably leads to a cycle, as more people strive to reinvent, and to change their market place, so then does the clock pull them onward to success, somehow. The entrepreneur is our best hope of economic recovery, now and in the future, our government needs to step out of the way of, and provide economic incentives for small businesses to become healthy again - then and only then - will the economy find a recovery.

Attached as reference to my blog here are 2 reliable statistical analyses, from the Society For Human Resource Management, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, I read both of these interesting articles with purpose, because it shows me the staffing industry is full of promise.

The economic journey of the recession pulled me from a small boutique consulting firm, to a couple of short term opportunities, and now my journey continues with a stint at Netpolarity. On this journey each of us faces a challenging set of circumstances. Each day something new occurs, and life opens up a window when before there was a boulder.

So see the following stats and let me say it loud and clear, this is good news for all of us!


Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 290,000 in April, the unemployment rate
edged up to 9.9 percent, and the labor force increased sharply, the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in manufactur-
ing, professional and business services, health care, and leisure and hospi-
tality. Federal government employment also rose, reflecting continued hiring
of temporary workers for Census 2010.

Household Survey Data

In April, the number of unemployed persons was 15.3 million, and the unem-
ployment rate edged up to 9.9 percent. The rate had been 9.7 percent for the
first 3 months of this year.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for whites (9.0 percent)
edged up in April, while the rates for adult men (10.1 percent), adult women
(8.2 percent), teenagers (25.4 percent), blacks (16.5 percent), and Hispanics
(12.5 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was
6.8 percent, not seasonally adjusted.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) con-
tinued to trend up over the month, reaching 6.7 million. In April, 45.9 percent
of unemployed persons had been jobless for 27 weeks or more.

Among the unemployed, the number of reentrants to the labor force rose by
195,000 over the month.

In April, the civilian labor force participation rate increased by 0.3 percent-
age point to 65.2 percent, as the size of the labor force rose by 805,000. Since
December, the participation rate has increased by 0.6 percentage point. The em-
ployment-population ratio rose to 58.8 percent over the month and has increased
by 0.6 percentage point since December.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes refer-
red to as involuntary part-time workers) was about unchanged at 9.2 million in
April. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut
back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

About 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in April,
compared with 2.1 million a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.)
These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work,
and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted
as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding
the survey.

Key findings from Q2 2010 (April – June)

Organizations' plans to change staff levels in Q2
(April – June 2010)

Increase total staff 24%

Maintain total staff 59%

Decrease total staff 11%

Not sure 6%

HR professionals’ optimism on
overall job growth in the United
States in Q2 (April – June 2010)

Very pessimistic about job growth, anticipating job losses 4%

Somewhat pessimistic about job growth, anticipating job losses 25%

Neither optimistic nor pessimistic about job growth 26%

Somewhat optimistic that there will be job growth 39%

Very optimistic that there will be job growth 6%

  • A total of 29% of respondents have some level of concern for the U.S. job market in the second quarter of 2010: 25% are somewhat pessimistic about job growth in the United States and anticipate job losses, and another 4% are very pessimistic and anticipate job cuts during the quarter. That represents a complete turnaround from the second quarter of 2009, when a combined 70% of respondents expressed some level of pessimism and predicted deeper cuts in the job market (49% were somewhat pessimistic, 21% were very pessimistic).

  • In the second quarter of 2010, 24% of companies will conduct hiring, up from 18% in the second quarter of 2009. Among employer categories, small companies (those with 1 to 99 employees) will be the most likely to add jobs during the second quarter.

  • In the first quarter of 2010, 52% of companies kept staffing levels flat and 20% conducted layoffs. That represented virtually no change from the fourth quarter of 2009, when 53% of companies maintained staffing levels and 22% cut jobs.

Source: SHRM Labor Market Outlook Q2 2010

In looking at this, it is clear that Temporary staffing will rise steadily helping and propelling those of us with this career direction a very promising opportunity. There is still concern, but with employer confidence in hiring going up, it will soon come time to realize just how busy they are with a skeleton crew, your job as job seeker is to bury that interview, and nail a placement.

The ASA shows that growth has come in the temporary staffing realm. I beleive the small business entrepreneur is our best hope.

As recruiters/staffing professionals, etc. we have the sacred privilege to put people back to work, and with plenty of talented candidates out there, it will be important to remind the managers that they had better act, and not be so picky as to render a search without cause/closes.

Such a manager should not be managing. Candidate customer service enhances your effectiveness in getting referrels and increasing your fill/interview ratio.

A manager cannot afford to be so picky now when the candidate's with strong technical skills are plucked up quickly, and if the manager doesn't provide feedback and invest time in the relationship then the candidate may go somewhere else that values them more.

The economic Mt. Everest has potential, as we turn a corner. Now as staffing professionals, it is up to us to make a difference. It can and will be done.

HR professionals’ optimism on
overall job growth in the United
States in Q2 (April – June 2010)


Very pessimistic about job growth, anticipating job losses


Somewhat pessimistic about job growth, anticipating job losses


Neither optimistic nor pessimistic about job growth


Somewhat optimistic that there will be job growth


Very optimistic that there will be job growth


Source: SHRM Labor Market Outlook Q2 2010

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