Recruitment companies are often looked upon as barometers, which can reflect the state of the economy. This being the case, anyone using this measuring device and applying it to print recruitment may form the impression that at last the printing industry is on an upward cycle.
Although print is a highly competitive industry, the people who drive the businesses are normally genial towards their competition. Testimony to this is the large quantities of alcohol they consume in each other’s company at the various award ceremonies, dinners and other functions where they bump into each other. Therefore it is not surprising that this filters down to the companies who supply services to printers.
Yes, print recruitment companies do talk to each other. In fact we go as far as to drink and dine with each other (No conspiracy theories on the setting of fee’s, please!) So we all know how busy we may or may not be. The fact is, from the beginning of summer of this year, print recruitment has been booming. We would dearly love to think this high-pressure signals a return to good time for printers. However, closer examination reveals, sadly, this is not the case.
Lets go scientific and look at the numbers. Formulae, statistics, patterns and trends can be applied to almost anything and everything. Recruitment is no different. On average, people change jobs every three years. However, 2002 was a brutal year for the industry with a higher than average number of companies going under and a pervading sense of doom and gloom. So if you look at Mr Average Statistic who was due to change jobs in late 2001 but postponed this move owing to the uncertainty in the industry, the aftermath of September 11 and build up to the second Gulf War – the two events which contributed significantly to the industries recent woes. He is unsettled and restless. Promises have been made to him but have not been kept. He needs challenge and progression to avoid being bogged down. Add to this many other Mr Average Statistics out there for whom three years are up. Consequently in the last few weeks you have discovered a pent up demand for change that is ready to explode.
There is no question that the printing industry is showing signs of recovery, a long slow recovery perhaps, but recovery nonetheless. It is no longer dominated by the effects of 2001/2002 and throughout the business people will be feeling more positive and less afraid to explore their options for the next move.
This is exactly what is happening. The fear has gone and people are now no longer willing to tolerate the niggly little things they have suffered for the last two years: that car is long overdue for a change and should have been traded in 18 months ago; or the raise that was due but was not forthcoming. Even the fact that they don’t see eye to eye with the newly appointed sales director and his management ideas, coupled with the restless mood, can be enough to make anyone seek a new position. Take away the fear, mix in the heightened levels of intolerance, and you have the ingredients for a recruitment boom.
We as recruitment professionals would have loved our upturn to indicate an upturn in the printing industry as a whole, but the reading on the barometer is not entirely indicative for fine weather coming.