Dominic Harvey, Sales Director, CWjobs, on the current #ITjobs market (and titanium bolts on Ebay)
Posted on 3rd December 2019
Dominic Harvey (pictured) was a recent (and excellent) speaker at the Digit Expo conference in Edinburgh. One of the Be-IT marketing team has known Dom for more years than both of them care to remember and, with only a modest about of flattery, asked him if we would like to help us with a guest blog. Dom said” yes, so long as you give me a steer by asking me some questions” - so we did…
CWjobs' view on the recruitment market at present, by region if possible.
IT is a confusing market just now and the trend seems to be nationwide. Despite investment in technology being at the forefront of the economy and the sector growing at two and a half times the national average of all sectors, the Brexit issue is stagnating a normally very fluid candidate base. This is causing real problems in getting projects off the ground. Who wants to change jobs and have their probation straddle the Brexit date which has moved twice and extended the uncertainty? I think this has particularly affected the smaller recruitment companies, to whom a drop in one or two placements a month can mean the difference, over a few months, of survival or going to the wall. We are also beginning to see the first effects of IR35, with risk-averse banks simply culling all contractors rather than run the gauntlet with the HMRC. Given that the contractor base can underpin the cashflow for consultancies, this makes for a dangerous period in the coming few months. Having said that, recruitment companies are highly resilient and I’m sure will reshape their efforts. The permanent will come to the fore, at least for the near future until the reality of IR35 becomes clear.
Rec-cons often complain about the quantity vs the quality of candidates available from job-board adverts and job-board databases (i.e. too many low quality candidates, CV databases not maintained well, too many overseas CVs from people who don’t have the right to work in the UK. How would you respond? Is this a fair criticism?
This can be the case, but digging through the irrelevant candidates is one of the many ways recruitment consultancies can add value to the recruitment process for clients (good point – Ed). AI will help and, if I’m allowed a plug (Yes – Ed) CWJob’s Candidate Recommender or our Mahiba plug in are helping recruiters to maximise the number of quality candidates they can reach within their CV databases within the CV Database. The job board market is evolving and I think the introduction of new tech from the big players like us will pay dividends to the savvy recruiter, enabling them to counter some of the more time-consuming aspects of the job.
Following on from this, what would CWjobs like to see by way of changes to immigration policy from whichever party wins the election (assuming any of them does)?
Simply put the government, whoever that may be come 2020, has to give some form of protected status to the tech community, be it those already in jobs or prospective candidates. Growth in the IT industry is at its lowest in three years and one reason for this is clearly the difficulty of finding the right candidates. If the accumulated wealth of European skills we currently have in this country returns to their homelands this problem will become acute and directly affect the UK’s ability to compete internationally.
You’ve had a lot of experience in all areas of recruitment. What’s the attraction of IT at this stage of your career?
I started out as an IT Contractor Recruitment Consultant 23 years ago and worked the Oracle and Datawarehousing market for six years. I then joined CWJobs as a seemingly natural progression. It is a fast-moving sector that never stands still and is vital to the overall UK economy. Despite working elsewhere in the Totaljobs Group for eight years, I jumped at the chance to rejoin the CW team. The landscape for niche job boards has been tough due to the sheer size and punch of generalists like TJ and Indeed, but the tech market’s near ceaseless appetite demands a specialist and I see CW having a strong future.
What impact will AI have on recruitment in the next five years?
AI is certainly advancing, within the sourcing environment in particular. Tools like Candidate Recommender (mentioned above) are already paying dividends to the recruiter, whilst on the applicant side Job Recommender is also a very useful way of exposing relevant jobs to an audience whose initial search may have missed attractive roles. Overall, I think AI will expand choices to the applicant and streamline the more mundane tasks to the recruiter whilst also uncovering potential candidates hidden in a database. What is certain is that AI will not replace the recruiter’s nous and inherent understanding of a company’s culture and the nuances of a role anytime soon. Any tool, no matter how advanced, is only as good as the user and dealing with humans is a very complicated process…
And finally, what’s your own favourite non-work website and why…!?
Now this question really stumped me. I probably look at four sites every morning: BBC, Cycling Weekly, Twitter and Ebay. And that is it. An endless circle, pecking away for I don’t know what. My screen time is depressing and I’m just glad I never got on board with Facebook. I sometimes think of dropping Twitter but what are you supposed to do when you have a spare five minutes waiting for someone in a pub? Speak to another human being? Anyway, I must go, I’ve bid £2.03 for some titanium bolts on Ebay....
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