The difficulty in recruiting unicorns

It’s a funny old game, as Greavsie used to say. Obviously a statement that like undeniably proves someone’s age, but the sentiment remains; we live a time of conflicting messages and odd realities.

Recent months have seen a spate of economic good news stories; the US agreeing their budgets and staving off economic meltdown, the UK economy officially coming out of recession and only yesterday, the ECB reducing its base interest rate by 0.5% to an all time low of 0.25% in an attempt to stimulate growth in the economy. Credit must be given to the Bank of England on this; by keeping their own base rate low, they have surely shown the way for other economic powers that if you make it cheap for people to borrow money to invest (even if that money is more difficult to come by) then you will fuel economic growth.

With these good news stories, you would expect an upturn in the recruitment market. This has undoubtedly occurred; whereas confidence seemed to be seeping back before the summer, since everyone returned lobster red from their staycations there has been a significant rise in the number of clients contacting us with vacancies. And the good news, in most cases, is that these are all new jobs, created to support new growth or to deliver new growth in expanding markets.

This, though, has raised new problems. For a number of years there has been no shortage of candidates, it has always been a question of wading through the hundreds of CVs you get when advertising to find the best five or six. Recently, however, there have been a couple of vacancies where the quality, and numbers, of respondents has been so low that a shortlist has become a very very shortlist. This problem is most apparent in senior skilled technical jobs, where response levels are so far short of what you would expect. This is not because the salaries or prospects are not good enough; far from it. It appears that either candidates with these skills are preferring to stay put in an environment that they are comfortable in, or that, in the UK, we have destroyed manufacturing to such an extent that these people simply no longer exist.

But enough ranting for one day. I’m off to plant a unicorn tree in the hope that it will grow the candidates I can’t find, and to ponder why the England and Wales Cricket Board are fixing interest rates in Europe rather than concentrating on retaining the Ashes.

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