Feast and famine of industry recruitment

So what is the jobs market like in print? I constantly hear both extremes. On one side, the swathe of closures over recent years has sent experienced workers to the jobs queue. Yet if you talk to people in the training sphere, the industry is in the grips of a worsening skills shortage. The Federal budget, with its allowances for training provision, has been heartily welcomed from these quarters as a way to create the skills base of the future.

So what is the recruitment reality: feast or famine? The answer, as usual, is complicated. The recruitment and HR bods I speak to say that, largely, produc­tion people are available but it remains a struggle to find good sales reps.

Why is there a sales gap? The HR director of a print group pointed to the skills drain. No doubt salespeople, like many white-collar workers, have gone overseas to further their career over the past decade. Not so long ago, the UK was a more dynamic jobs market, with a far richer career progression. I speak from experience, having done my time at PrintWeek, our sister title in London. Opportunities drove me over there, but like so many, the changing tides of the global economy helped bring me back. The UK, Europe and the US are still in the clutches of the financial crisis; Australia is the attractive career option.

But even an injection of skills from overseas – whether immigrants or returning ex-pats – won’t solve the problem. The skills in short demand have never been on the average print worker’s CV. I hate to use the groan-inducing jargon term ‘solutions selling’, but this is what the industry is crying out for. Good salespeople are hard to find; talented salespeople who can cross-sell different products and services are like hen’s teeth.

With all this musing on the climate for recruitment, it would be remiss of me not to mention that ProPrint has launched an online jobs board. We already have the most active website in the industry – and the only one audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulations – and we look forward to offering you this invaluable new resource. Whether you are hiring or hunting, head online to www.jobs.proprint.com.au.

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