The HR jobs market may be brighter than we think…

For two years now we have been collecting and publishing data on the number of HR opportunities advertised each month on a basket of job boards including People Management, Personnel Today, Changeboard and Monster.  In recent months we have seen a steady downward trend in the numbers of both permanent and interim HR roles being advertised.  All very depressing news for HR professionals looking for their next career step – or is it?

Certainly for professional “day rate” HR interims the situation is far from rosy. At the end of last year it looked as though the temporary/interim recruitment market had plateaued but in the first quarter of 2013 there has been another very clear drop off in the number of these opportunities. A closer examination reveals that the decline in “true” interim opportunities has been particularly severe.

Every month I speak to interims that have spent the past decade moving from one contract to the next. Many are now giving up this career path in an effort to find some income security. Gaps between each new contract have become wider, day rates have fallen significantly and clients are fully aware that they can often find good candidates that are prepared to take a fixed term contract.

Whilst the supply of good HR candidates outstrips the number of roles available, I predict this decline in demand for ‘day rate’ interims’ will continue. There are plenty of good HR candidates that are available immediately – meaning that traditional interims have lost a critical edge which pre-recession made them highly attractive and justified their day rates.

Whilst HR Directors are expected to run much leaner HR functions, I am very keen to understand whether the drop in the number of jobs being posted on the “usual suspect” job boards genuinely reflects a fall in demand for HR professionals. I have a strong and growing view that rather than there being fewer HR jobs available what we are seeing is a change in recruitment practice.

I had an interesting conversation with my boss a couple of weeks ago as he carried out some analysis of the split between jobs advertised on LinkedIn and those being advertised across the traditional  websites used for HR jobs. His analysis was not scientific but it painted a very clear picture…

The traditional job boards are increasingly dominated by agencies. I checked today (3 April) and of the 784 jobs on People Management website just 70 were direct from employers (9%). My boss’s rough analysis was that on LinkedIn it is almost the exact reverse position.  85%+ of the 300 HR jobs he found listed were posted by employers.

If what we are really seeing is direct advertisers abandoning traditional job boards for LinkedIn then the HR jobs market may well be healthier than our Index suggests.

Over the coming months we are going to start compiling data from LinkedIn on a separate table. In doing this we can start to see whether there are trends emerging. If the number of HR jobs that are being advertised on the traditional sites continues to decline but there is a corresponding increase in the number of jobs posted on LinkedIn, then it would suggest a very different interpretation of what is happening in the HR jobs market.

We see a strong future for HR recruitment specialists like Chiumento – but only if we recognise and adapt to new market realities. That’s why we have fundamentally re-engineered our permanent and fixed term contract recruitment offer to give better value, quality and service to our clients. If you are looking for permanent or fixed term contract HR resource, and are currently paying your consultancy over 10% placement fees – then please email me via or call 0207 224 3307 and I will brighten up your day…

Alternatively if you are seeking a new opportunity within HR then please take a look at the roles that we are handling by clicking here.

Tom Gale
Head of HR Solutions