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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

My thoughts on the Aberdeen market, the recruitment sector and hopes for the future

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By Amanda McCulloch, Managing Director, Thorpe Molloy Recruitment Ltd

A few years ago, around 2016, I remember reading an article on Linkedin entitled something along the lines of “The Recruitment Industry Will Die in 2018”. A provocative title intent on grabbing attention and generating a click through, which of course I did. For me, it sounded like a horror story!

But here we are, with 2020 on the horizon. Having weathered business storms brought by recession and oil price fluctuations we made it beyond the doomsday prediction.

In Aberdeen, investment decisions by Operator and Tier 1 service companies have been fuelling a demand for services and skills throughout the year and it shows no signs of abating. In August we experienced a 53% rise in job flow compared to the same time last year, with a swing towards more permanent hiring, which given the ongoing Brexit uncertainty may seem a little counter intuitive.

The rise in our business activity reflects this universal shift but is also a result of the growing concern around immediately available workers and skills shortages, with employers supplementing their own recruitment efforts with specialist services in order to attract and recruit talent.

In the current competitive environment specialist recruiters are adding value through flexible access to temporary workers for fixed term and project specific work; acting as a trusted ambassador and advisor for hiring companies; and championing candidates by sharing informed advice about the person behind the CV, opinion that an automated system could never know.

But the world of work is evolving rapidly and progressive employers are increasingly engaged by the importance of diversity in all its forms: gender, ethnicity, experience, age, disability, attitude, leadership and thought, to name a few.  

For recruiters, the diversity agenda is an opportunity to make a difference. As the skills shortage tightens accessing the widest possible pool of talent makes business sense. But one of the blockers to improving diversity is unconscious bias as it can have a major impact on final hiring decisions.

The future has grabbed my attention because I’m more certain than ever that the trusted advice of specialist recruiters will be valued as organisations grapple with shifts in skills requirements through advances in technology; gender balance in leadership positions; employee aspirations across demographics and diversity.

OPITO’s Skills Landscape 2019 – 2025 report, part of the UKCS Workforce Dynamics research, highlights that the oil and gas industry needs to attract 25,000 new people and 4,500 of those will be in completely new roles that don’t currently exist. The recruitment of diverse talent and diverse thinkers, skilled people who strengthen organisations, could be one of the biggest business challenges of the next decade – and we will definitely be part of the solution.

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