Budapest Business Journal 3008

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Special Report

Budapest Business Journal | April 22 – May 5, 2022

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Post-pandemic Recruitment: Market Knowledge Essential for Successful Partnerships Dóra Világosi Business Unit Manager ISEEQ


Uncertainty has determined recruiters’ days for more than two years now. Accelerated digitalization and the pandemic rearranged employer-employee relationships, working conditions and priorities. Now that it’s determined that the COVID-19 era will not have a definite ending point, our professional lives have started to adjust rules and standards. People have recognized the importance of work-life balance and demand home office and hybrid opportunities from employers. To answer the new pressures, companies need new tactics to attract and retain talent. After almost a decade of experience in the recruitment industry, IseeQ’s business unit is well prepared for the new challenges and changing circumstances. Our colleagues notice several surprising trends and have exciting expectations for 2022-23. “Despite the initial enthusiasm towards remote work, most candidates are now looking for hybrid opportunities rather than 100% home office. They usually express the need for separated spaces for work and personal life and promise improved focus in exchange,” says Dóra Világosi, business unit manager at IseeQ. “Employees seem to have had enough of the distractions they experience at home and are eager to explore flexible options to have the best of both worlds.” The changes are not only visible in attitude, but in practice as well. “Job descriptions are changing, and expectations tied to a certain role adjust to digitalization and remote conditions gradually. New positions requiring unique skill sets also emerge constantly,” say Boglárka Visi and Nikolett Horváth, recruiters at IseeQ. “New compensation forms are also making their way into all industries. The popularity of cryptocurrency continues to rise, resulting in an exciting mix of payment methods.”

Companies are often torn between the cost of maintaining an office and the responsibilities of supplying their employees with everything they need for work at home. However, forwardthinking leaders keep their colleagues’ best interests at heart and re-design organizational structures, cultural models, and bonus packages to accommodate renewed needs. On the other hand, there are still businesses that demand a physical presence in the office five days a week, just as they did pre-pandemic. This may be an unattractive feature in candidates’ eyes. In these uncertain times, expectations towards recruitment agencies have changed too. The importance of business advice and salary benchmarks is growing since they can help companies create competitive packages for candidates. We asked our partners about these expectations and their opinion on the post-COVID market. Máté Gulyás, CEO of Datapao, believes in flexibility. In a hybrid model, employees don’t feel isolated (since they have the chance to visit an office), and they can work from the comfort of their own homes too. In the post-COVID market, he thinks recruitment agencies should realize the increased value of efficient communication and a quick recruitment process. Istyle’s CEE regional manager Csaba Gyarmati highlighted the growing significance of understanding organizational culture and the characteristics of the ideal candidate. All agencies should focus on understanding customer expectations and finding a proper cultural fit. In his opinion, IseeQ’s recruitment strategy for them was successful because “IseeQ is professional in both selection and agreement. They excel at managing the candidates’ expectations with appropriate information in the waiting process and mediating more difficult decisionmaking processes, if necessary.” Gyarmati also considered the “fast premium service” crucial. Updated standards fit for today call for resilience in a renewed context, with a tight commitment to accepting the only permanent thing in our world: change. We are excited to see what the future holds and even more excited to evolve constantly to remain competitive.

chains, we are afraid it will have an effect in fields like the automotive and chemical industries. In Germany, we saw many layoffs at large auto manufacturers. In Hungary, employers prefer to keep their people to restart the business as quickly as possible. Most Ukrainian refugees are transiting Hungary; a lot are women with small kids, but, for sure, many thousands will remain for the time being in Hungary and will help to reduce the labor shortage. ZsB: Most companies could cope with the pandemic crisis, however stressful it has been. Following this bizarre blend of the pandemic and a supply crisis, we have been hit by another negative factor in 2022 in the war in Ukraine. Alongside being a horrendous humanitarian tragedy, it has a massive impact on the shortages already present in the commodity market. While Ukrainian refugees were expected to appear on the Hungarian labor market, we are not detecting a surge in significant quantities yet. TF: The Ukraine crisis has had many effects on the labor market. Men were leaving their jobs and joining the fight in their hometowns, while women with children were arriving in Hungary and looking for refuge. Many of them just pass through. I do not believe refugees are the key to solving labor shortages. BBJ: Putting black swan effects to one side, what are the most significant trends for recruitment? SB: I would say there are four. Population: The demographic trend is clear: 40,000 more people retire than 18-year-olds enter the labor market (admittedly, a lot go to university) every year. We think that the rebound of the economy in the West is slower than in CEE; thus, the vacuum effect from the West is still low. Inflation: High inflation puts pressure on the value of salaries; companies who do not export (and thus do not have revenues in euros) will have difficulties matching wage demands. Flexibility: Globally, 26% of employees have more flexibility in their job after COVID than before; in Hungary, it is only 16%. Skills: 80% of employees feel they need to learn to keep their employability, but only 58% know what to study. The employer’s role is enormous here. TF: There is serious wage inflation, which triggers people’s moves to other companies. It is quite common to receive 15-40% higher salaries in many job categories. I believe this effect will drive the market this year. TN: Clients want to outsource their recruitment more. Companies are increasingly nearshoring positions to Eastern Europe, especially in technology and business services. With COVID restrictions lifted, hiring freezes have ended everywhere, and recruitment has accelerated at an extremely high pace. Companies’ recruitment teams are

not prepared enough for such pressure and seek strategic partners that offer expertise and consulting. Employer branding has gained much more significance. Companies need to differentiate themselves from the competition, as salaries cannot be raised infinitely. Employers need to attract to passive candidates and engage jobseekers in the countryside by offering flexible working solutions. Contracting is gaining popularity every year. The flexibility it offers is appreciated both by clients and freelancers. Some clients, mainly in the technology area, already have a staff population of 70% employees vs. 30% contractors. And at the end of the project, it can be decided to extend, part ways, or employ the contractor permanently. BBJ: What are your expectations for the market this year? Stagnation, growth or consolidation? SB: This is very unpredictable; if the war could be stopped soon, we expect a growing economy and business. The first quarter was, by far, the best yet in the history of Randstad Hungary. ZsB: 2022 should be a year of consolidation and economic incentives; otherwise, there will be difficult times ahead. We are still optimistic and hoping it will happen. TF: I believe that the permanent recruitment market will grow further, while industrial temporary staffing needs are less predictable due to the Ukraine crisis and its effects on specific industries, like automotive. But as the need for more workforce is growing, it should be on a growth path soon enough. TN: I see growth, and most areas look promising. Technology is definitely a growth trajectory, and this will continue this year as well. IT contracting shows a remarkable increase. Support functions like HR, marketing, sales, and finance are booming. Construction and property is a unique market in Europe as governmental measures keep the area growing. Engineering is the only sector where we might see some consolidation or stagnation over the year. The life sciences segment will develop further; health services are a growing market in Hungary. There’s a massive demand for qualified professionals in general; however, it’s matched with a considerable skills shortage in the labor market.

Our 2022 Recruitment Agency Market Talk Panel • Sándor Baja, managing director for the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania, Randstad Hungary Kft. • Zsolt Beck, founder and CEO, Beck and Partners • Tamás Fehér, country managing director, ManpowerGroup • Tammy Nagy-Stellini, managing director, Hays Hungary

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