Has the lowest point for HR recruitment in London passed?

After a year long slide in City HR job volumes, the last 3 weeks have seen a noticeable upturn in HR recruitment.

Most of 2009 has been characterised by a continuing slump in HR recruitment.  Job volumes reached their nadir during mid June 2009, with a 85% decrease in HR jobs compared with 2008.

Daniel Cooper, a senior consultant with Joslin Rowe’s HR recruitment team, comments: “Mid-May to mid-June signalled the lowest point, where the only positions being recruited for were incredibly specialist, such as learning & development roles, expat positions and comp & bens jobs. There were very few generalist positions available. However, the last few weeks has seen a marked increase. There’s been an incredible bounce upwards.”

According to Joslin Rowe data, the HR desk is now handling more roles than at any time since the recession was declared in 2008. And, more importantly, the sheer variety of firms recruiting is a strong indicator the market may no longer be in a downward spiral.

“We’ve seen our first few senior HR jobs being released from the legal sector, whilst a number of investment banks and insurance firms are recruiting again – even those who were hardest hit,” says Cooper. “Another positive is the number of HR generalist jobs.  Certainly, the recruitment we’re seeing at the moment is way ahead of previous client predictions which all pointed to the end of 2009 before recruitment would reach current levels.”

Conversations with Joslin Rowe clients indicate that departments are now so lean, even a small increase in business activity will necessitate increased HR headcount, with one HR Director admitting his team is so stretched, he might be back up to 2008 headcount levels by the start of 2010.

“The key is of course, whether this growth can be sustained,” admits Cooper. “I think if we start to see jobs for internal recruiters, we’ll certainly know we’re heading in the right direction. At the moment, entry level HR jobs, graduate recruitment and internal recruitment has yet to recover.”

Another positive is that salaries for roles coming to market have remained very competitive. Despite this, candidates who previously earned £70,000 are now willing to look at roles at the £65,000 mark in order to return to the labour market.

Dan Cooper believes, “Job seekers are realistic enough to realise that whilst in the good times they may have seen their salary soar from £50,000 to £70,000, the market has re-aligned itself and they are happy to do the same.”


 

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