Friday, 31 December 2010

Review of the year. Thoughts on 2011...

There are a few contenders for the big news stories of 2010.  The two obvious ones, of course, are the re-emergence of the Mighty Leeds United and the emphatic sporting victories over our friends from Australia in the cricket and the rugby.

However, away from the sporting triumphs and disasters (the less said about the football world cup the better) it has been a very interesting year professionally which I have attempted to concisely summarise below along with my thoughts on 2011.  

2010 overall

After a bleak 2009 this year has seen all our key markets here at Appointments-uk show signs of recovery. In particular, our Fraud Investigation Team had an outstanding year!  Maybe in 2011 one of you chaps may actually find the time to make that often promised blog post??!  However, I fear there is more chance of Ricky Ponting being voted the best captain in Australian cricket history....

Computer Forensics & Electronic Disclosure

In my personal specialisms of Computer Forensics (CF) and Electronic Discovery (ED) recruitment has really picked up during the second half of the year.  The number of roles available – especially at a senior level – have increased but the difficulty has been persuading the very best talent in the market to make a move from stable organisations at this time when people are rightly uncertain about moving jobs.  This has meant that in the last quarter of 2010 a number of positions – especially at Manager to Director level  - have remained unfilled.

A real positive has been the increased number of appointments at graduate level.   Although the number of applicants still far outstrips the number of positions available, 2010 did see a vast increase in hires compared to 2009 with most of this increased activity coming from Big Four organisations.  Basic starting salaries in this area have slightly increased and now tend to be around the £27k/28k mark in London.  

2011 outlook

The outlook for ED is optimistic. Salaries have continued to increase for experienced people and the opportunities for major salary rises and rapid career progression in this area remain outstanding for talented professionals.  

I don’t think the future for CF is anywhere near as positive.  I see issues for pure CF people in the next year or so as salaries in this area haven’t increased to anywhere near the same level as ED.  This can make senior CF roles hard to fill as predominantly ED orientated potential jobseekers won’t take the pay cut needed to move into a pure CF role.

I also think there are growing difficulties around career opportunities in pure CF.  A number of people have spoken to me this year about hitting a career ceiling when at Manager level earning about £60k or so as there really is nowhere else to go (except for the few who progress to Director positions).  This has meant professionals in this area have attempted to broaden their portfolio of skills to include ED, wider information security skills or other disciplines just to open up career opportunities.

The other concern for CF (here in the UK) in 2011 is the continuing effect of the Public Sector cuts.  This has already had a direct effect on our company as all but two of our CF contractors in the Public Sector had their contracts curtailed during the last quarter of 2010.

It seems clear that recruitment in Law Enforcement is certainly not going to pick up but will there be job losses in this area (in addition to the closure of the FSS)?  Also, how is this change in the landscape going to affect the outsourcing companies?  With chargeable rates reducing as budgets are squeezed and the successful awarding of contracts apparently being increasingly based on ever lower charges does this mean that forensics professionals in the area, even if they keep their jobs, are unlikely to see their pay increase?  This is going to be tricky as some of the practitioners in this area outside London with over five years experience are still earning less than a new graduate in London.

How this is going to play out in 2011 is unclear right now but the future is certainly uncertain in this area.

On a positive note, 2010 has seen an increase in Companies developing their internal CF Teams.  Although predominantly in banking and finance, organisations in areas as diverse as pharmaceuticals and internet gaming have recruited CF experts this year and I would suggest this is likely to continue in 2011.

The thoughts above are just my opinions based on my experience: do you agree?


I thought some readers could be interested in the specific pressures facing recruiters in 2011.

Once more, 2010 has been another year when the reputation of recruiters has continued to slide.  On the positive side, I think 2011 has the potential to be a time where we will see many more recruiters go out of business.  This is no bad thing, of course, as it suggests that those who remain have managed to adapt to the new reality.  The old days of recruiters chatting to you on the phone for five minutes before spraying your CV to a number of organisations on a speculative basis have gone – thank goodness – and although some recruiters who work like this are hanging on it cannot last.

The key for successful recruitment in 2011 to my mind has to be successfully utilising social recruiting strategies and this whole area is progressing incredibly quickly.   Why should you take time out to look at a variety of different media to find a job that could be suitable?  Our job as recruiters is increasingly to bring the relevant content to you where you want to see it.

One of the bloggers who is really up to speed in this area and who has some very interesting views on this subject is Bill Boorman who gives his thoughts on 2011 in the following post:

This unstoppable growth of social recruitment does pose some real challenges for recruiters.  In his post above, Bill talks about changes at LinkedIn which I think is going to be the major challenge for 2011:

‘With the launch of Linked In referral engine later this year, the alpha launch of the new company pages, the delivery of matched jobs to profiles and other initiatives that the boffins in the Linked In labs will be developing over the coming year will make this channel a real threat to third-party recruiters eroding some market share, as sourcing candidates gets much easier and the prospect of direct sourcing and applying becomes much more attractive, fuelled by a reduced cost of hire. As new Linked In applications prove their worth, they will move to the paid for options and by the end of next year the paid for options may well become a necessity rather than a luxury.  How long do you think it will be before the 2nd degree search loopholes (via Bing) get closed, and names and contacts disappear completely unless you pay?’

Of course this is positive for the jobseeker as it will stop you being bothered so much on LinkedIn by annoying recruiters!  Who knows, it may even eventually stop your favourite LinkedIn discussion groups being ruined by recruiters posting irrelevant jobs.

Finally, at the end of this marathon blog, I would just like to wish you all a very happy, successful and peaceful New Year. 

1 comment:

  1. Another great (but sobering) piece David. On a personal level I have a few things under way for my company which will hopefully go some way to avoiding these downward trends. Looks like 2011 will be another tough market for all concerned though.