Labour Market Developments

Every year experts tell us labour markets are changing dramatically. This year we think they are more right than before. An increasing number of retirees and less youngsters entering the market is just part of the story. We attended the recent Werf& event, where insights were presented and inform you about the highlights.

The day was kicked off by well-known journalist and economist, Mathijs Bouman. He took the macro economical approach and presented how more grey and less green results in the destruction of capital: machines and infrastructure remain unused. Think for example about trains without drivers. In his opinion the government ignores the real problem by focusing on flex work and more women working. In just a few decades, The Netherlands reached records in labour participation. The current population is just becoming too small. His suggested approach is to work much more on keeping your current staff on-board and take care they acquire the skills you need in the future. Perhaps paying people during their education will lead to a better equipped population. Furthermore invest in technology so you need less staff and accept that the people you need will come from abroad!

One of the next speakers, Aad van der Werf, took a more practical approach to the topic but agreed mostly with Mathijs. Also he plead for focus on your current  staff and train for what you will need. Some interesting numbers he mentioned: 40% considers leaving and for 46% working remotely is essential. He stressed other aspects that very much spoke to me as a recruiter. First, he advises board members to consider human capital an asset that should be on your balance sheet. Too often I personally hear CEOs mentioning people as most important capital for their company, then seeing that the internal recruiter, often a contractor with a maximum of two years experience, is a local assistant reporting into a Personnel Generalist, reporting into an HR manager, reporting into a Director, reporting to the CFO who reports to the CEO. Is this the way to manage your strategic assets? Second, he advised to start listening to your (potential) employees and accept that different  generations have different needs. Perhaps the younger ones need support in their mortgage, perhaps they want to be digital nomads or work from home. Perhaps demotion is appealing for seniors. Ask and you will know! Don’t complain, there are enough buttons to push.

The very experienced recruitment manager Gusta Timmermans made recruitment very tangible by telling the audience about her plans how to find 850 security employees for Schiphol. Her message for me was very clear: don’t be afraid to invest. If it’s important, act upon it. Use the channels the target groups uses: whatsapp. Be available: 7 days a week, from 9 to 9. Do not necessarily stick to the old ways: cv and cover letter. Be decisive and quick! This is not only in security but also in the treasury labour market. Last year we saw that employers who want to cut corners, wait too long and have the mindset they are doing candidates a favor with their job opening, pull the losing straw.

Last speaker was labour market strategist Geert-Jan Waasdorp. He drew a grim picture for all who are recruiting. If you thought 2022 was tough, 2023 will be worse! He started by mentioning that the traditional advertising-applying model still exists but sourcing/direct approach is currently the more successful way to go. In all market segments. We at Treasurer Search very much recognize this, headhunting is the way we close most assignments. In line with this he mentioned that the well-known companies with an employer brand, only a few hundred, will be considered by those available. Others will be actively hunted by recruitment agencies. When you are not known as a company and you do not use an agency, you will have to pay a premium. He mentioned a lot more but what I want to highlight is a combination of two things that might have a big impact on recruitment. First, the importance of diplomas might become less as practically acquired skills can be certified in the future and these can support an application. This certification is something an employee can claim with his current employer and regulated by government. In Belgium this is already done. Second, diplomas, these skills certificates and also other relevant information like the Treasurer Test, will be stored in blockchain/web 3.0 kind of solutions, owned by candidates themselves. They can chose to let potential employers or recruiters access this info. On one hand, this sounded very abstract and far fetched, on the other hand things can go quickly…..

And what do you as a candidate or employer in the treasury labour market and we, as recruiters, take from this. With a change in mindset and a lot of common sense, I am confident we will be able to tag along. Place yourself in the others’ spot, what do you think is important for them? And what is important for you? Can you bring this across, is what you claim reasonable? Treat the other how you want to be treated yourself. We will continue investing in longterm relations and will keep our expertise relevant in order to facilitate a smooth treasury labour market and like to read about your observations.

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