Just caught up with David Grant, General Manager of Marketing and Corp Affairs recruitment specialists Market U (we met at a recent IABC issues hypothetical). I asked David a few questions about (PR) market conditions and the extent to which Social Media proficiency appears in Aussie corporate PR recruitment briefs. For those of you who are too time-pressed to read on, the radar signal for Social Media skills isn’t that strong. (I have paraphrased David’s replies for brevity, thank him for the interview, and ask him to correct if I have misrepresented his comments).GM: “Give me your take on 2008 as a PR employment year…” David says the first half of 08 was strong, budgets were very liquid and there seemed to be healthy marketing spend available and roles to match. It was actually tough to find good (snr) candidates in a talent-short market. Market U sensed the change coming before the third quarter, and some briefs taken late Aug and early Sept were put on hold…more recently there’s been a thinning of PR jobs in the pipeline as clients wind down into the Xmas hols period.
GM: “So what’s in store for 09…?” Both for clients and candidates there’s some apprehension in the air, David says. Traditionally, candidates use festive time to evaluate their career progress, but now candidates and clients alike are wondering if (or when) we’ve/ll hit ‘rock bottom’. Without being too pessimistic, he’s seeing signs like head count freezes and an attitude of caution. David related an anecdote of a market analyst saying Oz will be spared the worst of the global recession, but that it’ll be the biggest downturn he’ll witness in his corporate lifetime!!
GM: “Are Web2.0 competencies being offered by candidates/specified by client job briefs…?” David says “Not really”. A few candidates are a little bit ahead of the curve and as more Gen X’s and Gen Y’s get promoted, you’d expect levels of corp Web2.0 literacy to rise organically. Not seeing a lot of Soc Med expertise in CV’s at under $150k-level jobs, nor over either! Possibly more in demand for IT-related job specs, and certainly (Oz) is nowhere near as visible as in some USA and UK roles. David opines that C-suite may be leery/wary of Web2.0 as it doesn’t seem to allow time for considered corporate (and stakeholder-approved) response. In short, there’s really no imperative for Web2.0 skills coming from corporate marketing/PR job briefs.
GM: “As an aside, would you personally use Web2.0 tools to help with candidate search or validation…?” David says yeah. He knows Linkedin is popular with some recruiters, and that plain old search engines turn up some interesting candidate insights. He wouldn’t be averse to using Web2.0 tools to check out a candidate if the job spec demanded related skillsets.
Thanks to David Grant for an enjoyable chat about PR employment, powerboats, kayaks, Borneo and the various codes of football.