Now that the economy is on the mend, HR service providers are reporting a sharp increase in turnover. According to Federgon, interim management and project sourcing are even achieving double digit growth.
With a growth of 1.7%, the Belgian economy is boosting employment as well as providing fertile soil for HR service providers. The latter are experiencing a sharp increase in revenues, as shown in the quarterly report published by industry federation Federgon.
“There has been a 1.4% increase in employment, corresponding to no less than 66,000 new jobs – 50,000 of which were created in the private sector. Unlike in previous years, no industry or construction jobs were lost in 2017. Labour demand has been expanding tremendously in the past years, resulting in a skills shortage on the job market.”
Interim management and project sourcing on the rise
HR service providers who target the highly educated especially see their revenues soar now that the economy and the labour market are recovering. The demand for interim managers is a case in point, with a 13.9% increase in assignments in the final quarter of 2017 and a 12.9% boost in the number of interim managers on assignment.
Project sourcing was fuelled by an equally strong quarter, culminating in a 11.4% rise in volume as compared to the final quarter of 2016. It is interesting to note that the demand for finance professionals is especially strong in this segment: a comparison between 2017 and 2016 reveals a 22.6% increase in hours.
Economic growth calls for change management
3W Executive Interim Management (part of the Adecco Group) also notes an increase in the number of assignments. Boudewijn Dupont, Managing Director at 3W: “We have strengthened our team by bringing in five Senior Advisors. They offer additional support to clients who are looking for the right interim managers, and they bring specific sector expertise to the table – an invaluable asset.”
According to Dupont, economic growth provides the perfect impetus to get interim managers on board. “Throughout all sectors, the economic growth numbers are mirrored by a willingness to invest. These investments, which often involve new technologies, bring change to the workplace, and companies prefer to work with external interim managers to manage that change. After all, external experts are unburdened by any emotional attachment to the past, they aren’t likely to get stuck in old patterns and habits, and they get the job done. Moreover, because their assignment typically is only temporary, they are not perceived as threatening.”
Agency trains own young potentials to meet demand
These stories of strong growth sound familiar to Pro-Cured, a specialist recruitment and selection agency targeting procurement, supply chain and logistics professionals (both for permanent and temporary positions). “In the current context of economic growth, our client applications have gone up 50%”, Business Director Ronald Jordens explains. “We even notice that companies are increasingly oriented towards young(er) candidates.”
That is why Pro-Cured launched a special initiative to prepare young potentials for a professional career. “Applicant shortage encouraged us to initiate a Junior Class Procurement, which comes down to selecting young potentials and new graduates, training them to become professional buyers and finding their perfect match among our clients.”