From Survive to Thrive
Tom Hadley’s 7 Key Takeaways from the 2022 ERF Conference
Future and current industry leaders convened on The Clayton Hotel on Burlington Road earlier in the month for the Employment & Recruitment Federation’s epic ‘From Survive to Thrive’ conference. This was a high-energy declaration of intent and a timely platform for taking stock of evolving workforce dynamics and of shimmering new opportunities for the sector, on both a national and global level.
Plenty to ponder, and lots to launch into. Here are my top 7 soundings from the ‘Clayton Hotel declaration’:
- Recruiters are stepping up at a time of need – ERF CEO Geraldine King set the tone for the day with a strong and timely rallying call: “We will support reskilling and provide employment opportunities for all those coming to Ireland from the Ukraine. We are working with our government, we are ready to help”. Across the globe, the recruitment and HR services sector is mobilising at a time of urgent need.
- The ‘new wave’ of Irish recruiters is ready and billing - Seeing and hearing from a such a vibrant cohort of recruitment apprentices was a real energiser. This is the recruitment industry’s ‘new wave’! Young people coming into the sector value the variety, pace and clarity of purpose that careers in recruitment offer. The future is bright, sounds like the next gen is up for making a difference!
- Let’s take a lead on reskilling - Recruitment and employment professionals are at the coalface of the labour market and are driving the reskilling agenda. As part of this, the role of temporary work as a stepping-stone is more important than ever. According to Paul Healy, CEO of Skillnet Ireland “Jobs of the future will be a combination of high tech and high touch”. As REC CEO Neil Carberry made clear, the industry is uniquely placed to provide practical support on a broadening range of workforce issues and to help employers, workers and policy makers plot a course to the future of work (including building the skills that will be needed along the way).
- We must get to grips with the ‘great reshuffle’ - LinkedIn’s Adam Hawkins flagged evolving worker dynamics within context of the ‘great reshuffle’: “76% of millennials want to work in diverse and inclusive workplaces; and work-life balance trumps bank balance when it comes to choosing a job”. Employment and recruitment professionals are helping to make sense of this ‘Brave New World’ of work and are at the forefront of ensuring that ‘the great reshuffle’ doesn’t degenerate into ‘the great kerfuffle’!
- This is a ‘golden age’ for recruitment – In the words of World Employment Confederation President Bettina Schaller, “With more mobility across sectors, our industry is playing a pivotal role in to facilitating transitions. This is a golden age for employment and recruitment”. This echoed Geraldine King’s depiction of the recruitment sector as a ‘knowledge hub for labour market intelligence’. And how good was it to hear positive reinforcement for the industry pivotal role in fuelling a dynamic economy and inclusive labour market from Ireland’s Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris! Nice work.
- Let’s talk 4-day weeks and other ‘unthinkables’ - Industry leaders are practising what they preach in terms of working pattern innovations that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. For Margaret Cox, Director of ICE Group “implementing a 4-day week has resulted in quantifiable benefits, including improved productivity (+27%) as well as improved staff happiness (+33%).” Employers across all sectors are trying different things as they grapple with post-pandemic dynamics and evolving worker expectations. In addition to making plans for an unlikely late run at a career in pop music under the careful tutelage of Louis Walsh, ERF President Donal O'Donoghue picked up on the theme of evolving priorities in the post-pandemic era: "The world of work has changed with a focus on doing more meaningful work".
- Communication is our greatest gift – How do we find peace within the chaos of the modern world? Niall Breslin, musician, thought leader, mental health advocate and former rugby professional laid it down as follows: “You can’t outrun mental health issues; our greatest gift is the ability to communicate with each other”. And another good message to a room-full of industry leaders relentless in their pursuit of recruitment excellence was as follows: “Be a little sounder to yourself". After all, nothing and nobody is perfect: “There is a crack, a crack in everything - that's how the light gets in”. You know it’s a great event when Leonard Cohen gets quoted…
From survive to thrive, the industry is back hitting its stride with energy and optimism and with a sense of resilience that Sir AP McCoy would be proud of! The ‘Clayton Hotel declaration’ shows that the sector is gearing itself up and is ready to make positive change happen in the post pandemic era.
ERF BLOG by
External Consultant - Global business & employment practices at HADLEY'S COMMENT