RPO & Staffing

Talent in Europe: Getting scarcer

Cielo’s Seb O’Connell discusses the state of RPO in Europe

By Bill Hatton

If you work in the European market, are you getting the people you need? You’re probably finding it difficult, according to Seb O’Connell, Managing Director Europe, Cielo Talent, London. O’Connell has worked for a dozen years in recruitment and shared his thoughts on getting the best people, as well as discussing what HR practitioners need to know about RPO:

  • “What we are seeing in Europe right now is a continued acceleration of growth rate. You are still seeing a significant market maturity in the U.K. and a growing market maturity in the rest of Europe. Everything I’m seeing is anything between 11 and 18 per cent growth rate in the U.K., depending on who you are referencing. We’re seeing anything between 20 per cent and 30 per cent growth rates in the rest of Europe.”
  • “I still see that as a challenging opportunity for RPO providers in that space. I think what that means for RPO providers is—there is a lot of focus around differentiation in the U.K., innovation, why providers are better providers, a real focus on the business case for clients. Whereas in the rest of Europe, whilst it is still growing fast, there is still a lot of focus on education. In the next two to three years, the rest of Europe will catch up with the U.K. and the big multinational companies very much leveraging U.S. and U.K. experience to accelerate what they are doing in the RPO space across the rest of Europe.”
  • “Talent is getting scarcer on a global basis and particularly within Europe. The latest stat I’ve seen is that certainly within the next 30 to 40 years, there is going to be a 50 million person deficit in the European workforce. That means that a lot of businesses are focused on how they can get the best talent now so they get themselves into the right place. They are looking far more at their talent as a global commodity, what they need to do to manage their workforce and their talent acquisition. I think that’s driving a lot of the behaviors in terms of what they are looking for in an RPO partner, and if they’ve got some good experiences in North America or the U.K., they could leverage that into the rest of Europe.”
  • “The U.K. market—the innovation piece is crucial. Customers are thinking about what’s next. They’ve got the table stakes. So you have a lot more conversations around, ‘OK, here’s things where you can potentially value add, or employer branding, focus around technology or diversity, or assessment.’ ”
  • “Traditionally, talent and acquisition in Europe has been run in-house. The education has got to be very much around the benefits of outsourcing. It’s very much a generalisation and I don’t want to be too sweeping—but we’re very much having the same types of conversation that we had in 2000 in the U.S. and the U.K. about the benefits of outsourcing, and what it can mean for a company with that scale and flexible model, best practices and technology that you get from an RPO.
  • “The other element of education is demonstrating capability. When you are dealing with global RPOs, you may not be headquartered in a Germany or a Switzerland or a France, you’ve got to educate the buyers in those countries that you are actually capable of understanding their market. You don’t want to be going in there and imposing a U.S. model or a U.K. model. You’ve got to show a cultural and social sensitivity as well as a deep market understanding to gain the traction you need to actually take it forward.”
  • HR practitioners need to understand how they will focus on: mobility, diversity, re-energising talent programmes (such as work experience, school leave, internship, externship, apprenticeship). Also, employer brand, “not necessarily just about attracting new people in, but also about retaining their existing staff. What we are seeing in terms of research is that companies which invest in an employer brand have a significant improvement in the quality of their candidate- pool from external, but they also have a significantly lower attrition rate for the employees they want to keep.”

Seb O’Connell, Managing Director Europe, Cielo Talent, London

Tags: RPO & Staffing

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