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The changing face of the recruitment industry​

The staffing and recruitment industry is vital not only in identifying job opportunities for and placing  a large portion of the population, but also in contributing to economic growth and encouraging skills development in a somewhat stagnant employment environment.With such a crucial role in various market segments, The Federation of African Professional Staffing Organisations (APSO) Vice President, KC Makhubele says, “The industry has grown and evolved drastically since the early establishment of agencies to fill the workforce with those returning from war in the 1940s.”

​“There has been an increase in global competition to acquire the best talent and this has seen the market truly recognise the benefits of using professionals in the recruitment field as they have access to a greater pool of potential candidates.” “Because people do not tend to stay in the same job at the same company for years on end as they did previously, this ‘pool of candidates’ has also expanded dramatically over the years. The younger generations are constantly looking for bigger and better opportunities to grow their experience and careers. These job-seekers will – in most cases – always approach the recruiter they know and trust rather than approach companies directly,” he adds. 

​Makhubele highlights that advances in technology have also been a major factor in changing the way companies and job-seekers approach and engage potential opportunities. “From the launch of Apple and Microsoft to the invention of the internet, technology is constantly evolving and providing new platforms for potential employers, recruiters and job-seekers to connect and partner,” Makhubele says.

​In recent times, he notes that social media and the widespread use of mobile phones has played an important role in shaping the landscape of today’s recruitment industry. Social media platforms like LinkedIn enable recruiters to search for potential candidates who may not even be on the job hunt and allow active job-seekers to search for opportunities, connect with staffing professionals and list their experience and accolades.According to the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends Report 2014, nearly 45% of job candidates apply for jobs on a mobile device. “This percentage is set to increase by 2018 when 50% of the workforce will be millennials aged 24 to 34 – an age group who are engaged with social and mobile technology,” notes Makhubele.In addition to adapting to advancements in technology, he says that staffing and recruitment organisations have shifted away from only offering ‘one size fits all’ recruitment models.  “The industry has presented a willingness to offer bespoke solutions, adapted to fit their clients’ needs.”

​“This has seen Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) fast becoming a popular staffing model whereby organisations outsource part - or all - of their recruitment process. In this case, organisations can choose to partner with a staffing professional for anything from creating job postings or pre-screening, to fully on-boarding employees,” Makhubele adds. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has recognised that the private employment services industry plays an integral part in a well-functioning modern labour market and that temporary employment alone, reduces unemployment through the provision of work opportunities.

​Makhubele says, “Staffing and recruitment professionals differ in expertise, from temporary employment services (TES) to executive level recruiters for permanent positions.” With particular reference to TES, Makhubele explains that temporary workers are exposed to work experience which would be difficult to gain in the competitive market for permanent positions. He says, “These temporary workers are able to gain skills and experience on the job and are then able to state this experience on their CVs. It is also worthwhile to note that temporary employees are often offered permanent positions. In fact, approximately 30% secure permanent employment within 12 months of ‘temping’, increasing to 40% after three years of contract or temporary work.”

​“With such the powerful responsibility of facilitating meaningful employment, the industry is open to exploitation by means of bogus recruiters. This goes against APSO’s commitment to the upliftment and professionalisation of the labour recruitment industry in South Africa.” He notes that a positive change in this regard is that many reputable staffing and recruitment companies have embraced self-regulation through APSO membership. APSO members are bound by a code of ethics and good practice and promote transparency in order to address false, negative connotations of worker exploitation associated with recruiters.

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