Dan Goodson, Head of Practice - Industrial, shares his thoughts on the current recruitment market.
How do Procurement Heads work?
The three types of recruitment that Procurement Heads offer are contingent, exclusive and retained.
The difference between those is; contingent is multiple agents, fast service, competitive environment, probably just looking at sending across available candidates.
Exclusive means a sole agency with an extended period of exclusivity, and it’s a payment on completion once the person accepts a contract or starts dependent on terms.
And then the retained search is where an organisation is paying for our time to do a real deep dive approach to the process, where we work closely in partnership with the client, understand their real needs and issues, and are able to identify and attract the prime talent to be able to shortlist and provide a full recruitment service for the client.
How do these types of recruitment differ?
We would always look at providing our expertise, that’s what we do.
We’re a recruitment organisation, and want to provide a professional service with the territory that goes with that.
We provide advice and give market intelligence and provide clients with information about what’s happening and what types of candidates are available.
We’re invested in the employment market in general, so we’ll know data from the national statistics that are available and we do research and understand what’s happening in the marketplace.
We’re a professional outfit, and that’s what we want to provide.
However, you get a slightly different level of service in the ways that we work and if you want to work as a partner with us, we reward that and we allow our pricing structure to go from high to low from a contingent or retained basis.
So, you would expect a good level of service from a retained basis, you would be looking at constant updates, and shortlisting meetings, we would be on site, and we could even attend those meetings for you. We can provide you with interview materials and coaching. We can also provide psychometric testing for all the candidates.
There are so many things that we can provide, but obviously, there needs to be that willingness and that initial investment of both time into a relationship and financial commitment.
What is the industrial procurement recruitment market currently like?
The marketplace at the moment is challenging.
There are fewer available candidates where we would see suitable candidates within the available candidates’ pot, we’re in a market where employment rates are really high and unemployment is really low, and that affects us within a procurement and supply chain space as well.
And so, the reason we would always advise clients to go down the retained route, particularly within the industrial space, is first, the industrial space is less attractive in general for particularly procurement people, supply chain people maybe not so much because there’s probably a bit more a supply chain within that industrial space, but, for procurement, a lot of industrial organisations need people to be relatively available on site, have some presenteeism in the office, work with their colleagues closely in a face-to-face fashion.
A lot of candidates actually want to have that hybrid model and want to be able to work from home, which makes it a challenge.
The reason we would say that we would look at retained models is that we can attract candidates on a bit of a more exclusive basis. If we’re selling a retained opportunity to a candidate, it tells them the client is serious about their recruitment, they’re serious about their staff and serious enough to invest in the process to get the right people into the organisation.
Also, that it’s an exclusive opportunity only through one agent and therefore engagement is higher.
So, they are the main reasons that we would always ask or expect that a client should really be looking at a retained process.
Which areas of the industrial space are seeing the highest demands?
Defence markets are very buoyant at the moment.
There has been an increase in spending within that area.
I think the onset of the Ukraine war has contributed to that and there’s been a real push within organisations in that space.
The energy market as well is also really buoyant.
There was a little bit of trepidation towards the beginning of the year with a lot of energy businesses suffering and actually, there are a lot of energy companies whose reputation past that stage has come out unfavourably, where it hasn’t really been their fault, it hasn’t been something that they’ve done that’s caused this to happen specifically, particularly with home providers of energy.
It’s a consequence of the market that they’ve suffered and that their reputation is probably being tarnished because they’re trying to pass on the best service they possibly can, much like we’re trying to do within recruitment.