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Recruitment industry faces future challenges

THE recruitment industry is one of Australia’s fastest growing sectors. With more than 2000 recruitment firms operating in Australasia, it plays a central role in the smooth functioning of the labour market, contributing more than $8 billion to the economy each year.

The Recruitment and Consulting Services Association is the leading industry body and represents more than 3200 members in Australia and New Zealand.

The current economic climate means that, like other sectors, the recruitment industry is facing a range of challenges.

For us in the industry it is a good time to re-examine our business focus and strategies. Current global events, the recent Federal election, the shortage of right skill combinations and corporate collapses have necessitated readjustments. Yet the recruitment industry is defined by its ability to withstand continuous change. We are constantly reconsidering our business practices in light of legislative changes, new technology, client expectations and the broader economic climate.

We are not, however, complacent. In fact the industry continues to be highly competitive and, as such, margins are under pressure.

We have responded to market forces in innovative and creative ways.

Business partnerships give clients and recruitment firms the best of both worlds – the intimacy of a long-term relationship coupled with the benefits of outsourcing to an expert supplier.

Our ability to add value in these ways is largely based on one thing – relationships.

Relationships between consultant and client are valuable in more ways than one.

The recruitment industry is now a major voice in the employment arena. Because of our intimate knowledge and experience of employment issues, our industry has been able to raise topics and lobby at the highest public policy formulation levels. These include the GST, tax treatment of contractors, and the new Federal privacy laws.

In the past year the RCSA has been at the forefront of discussions with the Government on the impact of legislation on the recruitment industry, and has become a key stakeholder in workforce and employment issues.

In particular, the RCSA’s intimate knowledge of the new privacy legislation to come into force later this month led it to undertake a major online campaign and roadshow to educate its members in order for them to become ‘privacy ready’.

This means that, when the broader business community is working with an RCSA member, it can be assured of working with someone who can ensure the privacy of candidates and clients.

We all look forward to a new year where we can confront the economic challenges through building effective relationships between business and recruitment companies to actively contribute to better employment practices and outcomes for all parties.

The WA region of the Recruitment and Consulting and Services Association wishes all its members, non-members and people linked with our Association in 2001 a great festive season and a very safe and challenging New Year.

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