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HR departments seek business value as challenges continue

New survey reveals restructuring and budget constraints still set to top employment issues in 2010

30 November 2009 – Research released today by Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS), the global recruitment process outsourcing provider, reveals that budget limitations and ongoing restructuring programmes are set to be HR’s biggest challenges in 2010, although the industry does appear to be stabilising after the economic crisis with 66% of budgets remaining unchanged.

The study, entitled The Recruitment Barometer, suggests that, although the worst of the recession may be over, HR and recruitment departments will still have to manage with limited resources to achieve business objectives. A lack of budget was identified by 36% of respondents as the biggest challenge to HR in 2010, with ongoing restructuring programmes still having an impact, as the second most concerning issue (32%). There are more positive signs for the New Year however, with nearly one fifth of HR managers expecting their budgets to increase in 2010.

The research, which surveyed the opinions of HR managers at the recent Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) exhibition in Manchester, also asked respondents to identify their top investment priority for the coming year. The top four investment areas for 2010 were, in order: 1) ‘Employee retention and engagement programmes’; 2) ‘Training and coaching’; 3) ‘Candidate attraction programmes and recruitment’; and 4) ‘Technology investment in HR’.

The findings suggest HR departments are anticipating job movements amongst employees as the economic climate improves, and are seeking to counteract this by boosting their retention and development strategies. However, the emphasis on technology and candidate attraction suggests that, with recruitment budgets expected to remain the same, businesses are looking to maximise their expenditure by investing in the tools and expertise that will help get them value for money.

Tom Marsden, Director of Professional Services at Alexander Mann Solutions commented, “HR departments more than ever need to add real business value to their organisations. The results of The Recruitment Barometer suggest that, although the restrictions of the recession aren’t over yet, companies are recognising that in 2010, they will need to take steps to retain their workforce. This could be through an increased emphasis on training and engagement programmes or by investing in areas that will optimise expenditure, such as integrated technology systems or improved candidate attraction schemes. The signs are that HR departments are preparing to maximise their resources and staff as organisations look to grow.”

One way businesses can look to optimise their recruitment spend at a time when budgets are limited is by streamlining their approach to external suppliers. The Recruitment Barometer found that, while the majority of businesses are using services from external recruitment suppliers, more than two thirds (67%) of HR departments are using multiple suppliers, with as many as 22% using more than 10.

“The fact that just 20% of HR departments are working with a single recruitment supplier does indicate that there is significant room for greater efficiencies in this area,” said Marsden. “Using numerous suppliers, on an ad hoc basis, makes each hire a significant budget drain as these agencies can be paid as much as 35% of the hire’s salary. Managing all your recruitment agencies through a single strategic outsourcing partner provides much better value for money, greater control and efficiencies, and helps organisations get the most out of their time and budgets. By going further and looking at the resourcing picture holistically, integrating a broader range of requirements under that arrangement can see additional economies of scale achieved.”




The survey was conducted at the CIPD annual exhibition in November 2009. 130 HR managers were asked their opinions on the state of the recruitment market as we move into 2010.

About Alexander Mann Solutions

Founded in 1996 by Rosaleen Blair, the Veuve Clicquot 2007 Business Woman of the Year, Alexander Mann Solutions is the recognised global leader in Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)*. A December 2007 management buyout was backed by Graphite Capital, and in February 2008, the company acquired Capital Consulting, a leading RPO player operating in Europe and Asia Pacific.

AMS builds world-class talent functions for its clients that cover permanent, contingent, internal mobility, graduate and talent resourcing programmes. The company acts a trusted advisor to its clients, building partnerships that usually span between five and ten years. AMS has over 1,000 professionals working across more than 60 countries, and its people are based in the company's global network of client services centres or work alongside client teams, embedded in their organisations and working under their brands.

In 2008, the company recruited over 50,000 permanent hires and made 205,000 contingent transactions on behalf of its clients. In addition to pure play RPO solutions, AMS also offers a range of high-value Professional Services in areas such as employer branding, assessment and selection, and recruitment technology consultancy. It also offers an instant RPO solution, AMS OnDemand, designed for organisations that want the advantages of a world-class recruitment function but don’t have the resources or recruitment volumes.

*HRO Today magazine named AMS as the 2009 Global Market Leader in the Baker’s Dozen, an annual listing of the top recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) providers. The company was also recognised as the leader in breadth of services, confirming its ability to act as a trusted advisor to its clients in all areas of recruitment and resourcing.

For further information, or to arrange an interview with Alexander Mann Solutions please contact:

Phil Corfan / James Warnette
Octopus Communications for Alexander Mann Solutions
T: +44 (0) 8453 700 655

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