Demand for compensation and benefits experts to increase in downturn

The economic downturn has seen an increased demand for compensation and benefits, and organisational development professionals, according to recruiters.

“What we found in 2002 in the last downturn was that companies were not releasing good people on to the market,” John Maxted, managing director at HR recruiter Digby Morgan, said.

 Maxted, whose firm has recorded 5% growth this year and is due to open a new office in Dubai in the autumn, told Recruiter magazine that when there is a downturn, organisations recognise the importance of retaining good people.

Any time there is a downturn, he said, the demand for employee relations and talent management staff increases.

Jamie Woodbridge, senior resourcing partner at Harley People, said that the demand for compensation and benefits candidates was so high because companies were seeking ways of retaining their best talent.

He knew of one professional who was currently considering four or five job offers on the table and was refusing to entertain any other offers because she already has too many.

Last year, compensation and benefits recruitment made up only 2% of Woodbridge’s business. This year, the figure had jumped to 15%.

Organisational development professionals are also highly sought after as companies seek to get the most out of their workforce during tougher times, said Alison Hughes, director at general HR agency Higher Talent. 

She said she had witnessed a 100% increase in demand for organisational development professionals this year.

In the past five months, it has been more challenging to recruit at the junior end of the market as she did not think there were quite so many graduates coming into that particular market place.

Recruiters would benefit from forging stronger links with universities to get a head start with entry-level HR candidates, Lisa Owens, HR recruitment consultant at Elite HR, believed.

She said: “We sponsor student of the year at Southampton Solent University so we get a lot of graduates and newly qualified candidates. It is absolutely essential to build links with universities.”