After the gold rush

After the gold rush

It won’t be long before discussions about 'the war for talent', 'the impact of the aging workforce' and 'how to minimise the turnover of your Gen Y workforce' will start to once again appear in business publications.

At the end of 2008 a friend of mine joined an iconic, top-end-of-town organisation. The organisation was being lauded in the press for meeting the severe economic challenges associated with the early days of the global financial crisis (GFC) by restructuring its many departments and cutting a large number of staff. Only key positions were being recruited to – and my friend accepted one of these. What she found when she entered this organisation was that a restructure had indeed been swiftly implemented, with staff numbers significantly reduced. However, the work agenda had not been commensurately reduced and the ways work was performed had not been redesigned. The remaining staff worked absurdly long hours and morale was low. Many employees were hunkering down waiting for the economic crisis to abate and job opportunities in the wider market to emerge.

This quite common strategy for responding to the GFC, coupled with the fact quarterly employment surveys are now reporting the second consecutive lift in advertised job vacancies, leads to a rapidly growing anticipation that it won’t be long before discussions about “the war for talent”, “the impact of the aging workforce” and “how to minimise the turnover of your Gen Y workforce” will start to once again appear in business publications.

It is widely acknowledged that Australia has fared better than most countries in the GFC. Despite this, many Gartner Executive Program members have reported a wait-and-see approach to IT investment. Many significant IT projects were placed on hold at the end of 2008. Now, as the economy improves, the expectation is that stalled IT investment will be restarted – and with this increased investment will come the need to hire new staff.

In the rush to bring on staff in an increasingly competitive hiring environment, it is worth keeping in mind some good practice recruitment principles. A sensible and well-structured approach at the outset can avoid considerable cost and disruption, both personal and organisational, at a later stage.

Linda Price is group vice-president of executive programmes, Gartner. Email comments to

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Tags recessionstaff recruitmentteam building

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