10/12/2008 - 22:00

Recruitment sector confident

10/12/2008 - 22:00

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THE recruitment industry is anticipating increased demand for its services as the global economic crisis forces companies to slash jobs and laid-off employees seek professional agencies to resume employment.

THE recruitment industry is anticipating increased demand for its services as the global economic crisis forces companies to slash jobs and laid-off employees seek professional agencies to resume employment.

The sector in Perth has reversed moves made in 2003 when agencies began bulking up to meet strong demand driven by an upswing in the economy, forcing some to employ recruitment consultants without experience.

Most recruitment firms contacted by WA Business News now believe credibility and experience are the primary factors that will enable agencies to ride out 2009.

Alastair Haldane, who left a lucrative job as a petroleum engineer at BHP Billiton to start Perth-based recruitment firm Interpeople with two friends earlier this year, said despite being new to the industry he was confident of the firm's future.

"There's a lot of speculation in the market at the moment about the economic climate and as to whether that's real or not, who knows...over the next six to 12 months things will start to firm up a little bit," he said.

"But with our technical skills and the fact that we specialise and have inherent knowledge of the job and respective industries, plus knowing people in the industry in terms of clients and candidates, we have technical credibility and having that common ground really helps."

Mr Haldane started Interpeople with Conor O'Brien and Chris Bates, both former solicitors with experience in commercial, administrative and tax law.

Recruitment agency Mining People has experienced a slowdown in activity, saying that employers in the resources sector have stopped hiring new staff.

But, recruiters in the oil and gas sector are more optimistic, particularly with work proceeding on large LNG projects.

Sarah Duke, WA director of the oil and gas division at engineering recruitment firm AAAI Group, said for recruitment firms to succeed in the current job market, it was essential consultants had technical knowledge of the industries they were recruiting for.

She said maintaining long-standing relationships with clients would be paramount to retaining and forming credibility.

WA managing director at international recruitment agency Drake Australia, Kate Duncan, said that with dampening optimism in the employment market forcing companies to undertake businesses reviews, lesser-known recruitment firms would struggle moving into 2009.

"I think a lot of people will be putting things off until the new year when they review exactly what they need so they are hiring the right people for the organisation," she said.

Recent ANZ statistics reveal the number of jobs advertisements on the internet and in newspapers fell for the seventh consecutive month in November to a two-year low.

WA recorded a fall of 14.9 per cent in November newspaper job ads, adding to the 14 per cent slump in October.

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