The Recruiter's Soapbox

question marks

Where are all the management roles?

It has been a while since I last logged on to write my blog. Why? I have been far too busy running a recruitment desk. “Head down bum up”, I think, is the expression. I’ve been managing the recruitment process, helping candidates, meeting with clients, offering advice and taking briefs.  I’ve spent every waking minute thinking about and searching for Tier 1 candidates.

In this current market, recruiters are very clear on what they are looking for in a potential manager:

1. Someone who is inspiring, hands on and leads from the front;
2. Someone who is client facing and entrenched in the market with their own personal brand;
3. Someone who is ahead of the bell curve in identifying new trends and opportunities;
4. Someone who covers their own salary and costs without expecting their team to do it for them.

On the one hand this is great. I am a Director of a business and I am leading from the front. No one in my company can blame under performance on the market because I am demonstrating that it can be done. Feedback from my team is that they love the fact that I am in it with them “at the coal face”. Teamwork has improved, morale is up and all is good with the world. Or is it?

I talked in my last blog about the recent changes within agency recruitment in Australia. One of the most prevalent being that senior non billing management roles have all but disappeared. I completely get the short term justification for this:  Tighter margins in a tighter market mean that any non-billing roles can be seen as non-essential and a major cost to the business. I have seen first-hand the benefits of “leading from the front” but despite the potential short term advantages, I believe we should consider the long term impact of this trend.

What does this mean for the longevity and future of our industry?

If true management roles no longer exist and everyone is recruiting……

• Who is managing, coaching and running our recruitment businesses?
• Who is strategically looking ahead, identifying new trends and opportunities?
• Who is training the next generation of recruiters?
• How will we attract and retain top talent if we can’t offer varied career paths, which include management?
• How will we create strong and enjoyable work cultures when everyone is focused on sell, sell, sell?
• What will the impact be on our industry regarding the wealth of knowledge and experience we are losing by forcing our senior managers out to other industry sectors?

It’s all well and good that I have my head down and am leading from the front, but at what cost??

Do soccer teams go to the world cup without managers?  Has the greater business world adopted a flat structure, with no hierarchy and no career paths? The answer is no because that would be generally considered long term suicide.

Driving sales is crucial in this competitive market but let’s not forget that there are other many elements that make up a successful recruitment agency. If everyone is too busy being a Consultant, who is actually running our recruitment businesses and looking to the future?