The Silver Tsunami

By Dave Nerz

silver-hairWow! That is a title that evokes fear and perhaps a chuckle at the same time. For anything to keep the attention of the media or perhaps even maintain the interest of our information overloaded minds, it needs a catchy moniker. The Beatles started the “British Invasion” that “Baby Boomers” all know. The Boomers have moved onto “Reality TV” and “hashtagging.” Lots to be said for a well-crafted handle!

The “Silver Tsunami” is the title associated with the aging workforce demographic that threatens to overwhelm employers. While it is a global issue, this issue is most alarming in the U.S. and in Western Europe. Global talent will be more difficult to find and retain as the older employees retire in record numbers. Employers will be looking to recruitment professionals to locate the unique skill sets that will be lost in the decades ahead.

Every day in the U.S., 10,000 people turn 65 years of age. This has been the case since 2011. Many older workers have extended their careers and continued their employment as they waited for their retirement portfolios to recover from the Global Financial Crisis. During the GFC, many that were not prepared to retire were laid off or were forced into early retirement. With portfolios recovering, more baby boomers are making a conscious choice to retire now.

Some facts from the U.S. Census to consider:

  • In 2012, 21.3% of U.S. men over the age of 65 remain in the labor force.
  • In 1990, only 17.6% of men over 65 were working.
  • In 2012, 13.4% of women over 65 remain working.
  • In 1990, only 8.4% of women over 65 were continuing to work.
  • People over 65 represent 13.7% of the total U.S. population
  • In 2010, 19% of the total workforce was made up of employees over 55.
  • It is expected to rise to 24% of the workforce by 2050.

What is interesting is that the Silver Tsunami is working both sides of the same issue. Older worker are leaving in high numbers which is one challenge and on the other hand, older workers will make up more of the workforce moving forward…a different but related issue.

As a recruiter, HR professional, or employer do you have a strategy to find, keep and value older workers as a part of your work force plan?

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Please Re-Subscribe to our Blog!

By Veronica Scrimshaw

subscribe-newspaperEffective Monday, January 12th, new posts on this blog will be delivered to email subscribers via Jetpack Subscriptions (we are currently using Feedburner, which is no longer a supported service). So that you don’t miss out on any new posts, we are asking you to please re-subscribe to our blog via the button below.

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Jetpack is a WordPress plug-in developed by Automattic (also the developers of WordPress!). Our site is a self-hosted WordPress site, so we feel good about the long-term viability of Automattic, WordPress, and Jetpack (and we do not receive any benefit from sharing this information). Using an unsupported service is really not a go-forward solution, so change, as they say, is inevitable.

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A Pact with the Devil

By Veronica Scrimshaw

MaureenAs technology has changed many things in recruiting over the last two decades, there is something that suffers the pain of change inextricably in many organizations and that something of which I speak is the act (and art) of communication.

I could go on and on in this article about how nobody is talking to anybody anymore because of technology and this is pretty much true inside the recruiting departments of companies and is pretty much the reason many of you are in business today; however the reason for this article isn’t to bemoan that happy fact.

The reason for this piece is to share with you my techniques for learning about new business opportunities while I am phone sourcing.

Let me backtrack for just a moment.

What is a phone sourcer?
People hire me to call in to companies to find people with vey specific titles (or people doing very specific jobs) inside (usually) very specific organizations.

Kind of like in the old days when you had the time to do it yourself – old fashioned headhunting. I do the research and the recruiter does the recruiting.

Isn’t everyone on LinkedIn?
If they were you and I wouldn’t be in business. It’s a common misconception (lie) nowadays (especially among corporate recruiters who have to justify the massive amounts their bosses are spending for LI Recruiter seats!) and the truth of the matter is some industries are woefully under-represented (think manufacturing, healthcare) while others (think recruiting) are sickeningly over-represented.

Be that as it is, on my daily sojourns a gatekeeper usually answers my first dial in.

Recently I was working on a Director of Operations for a Midwestern heat exchanger manufacturer. They wanted a hands-on plant manager out of a discrete/engineered products manufacturer in Tornado Alley. I was calling into plants identifying plant managers on the first leg of my job.

You know the plant gatekeeper type:

Thank you for calling ABC Company, Marie speaking, may I help you?

Yes, Marie. This is Maureen Sharib. Can you tell me who your plant manager is?

We don’t have a plant manager right now. He died suddenly last month. Would you like to speak with our manufacturing manager? He’s handling his duties for now…

Whoa! Surprise. But it happens. Death is rather extreme, but this example happened on this job along with three other vacancies I heard about at the fifty or so plants I called into. They were:

  • Director of Operations
  • Production Manager
  • Plant Manager (who needed coil fabricators at another plant)

All these represent business opportunities for recruiters that someone who is calling into companies on the front lines of recruiting research is hearing about because someone is still willing to talk with people.

A great deal of this early probing and talking with people is not happening nowadays because technology is removing this research “burden” from so many and so many are so glad-fully handing it over without a thought to this lost opportunity cost.

They have no idea what they’re losing in this pact with the devil they’re making.

Next month I’ll regale you with a tale of the second leg of my job – when I contacted the plant managers to “tickle” their interest in my customer’s opportunity and report to you the next layer of business opportunities I uncovered.


I really appreciate that you took the time to read my post. I regularly write about phone sourcing and business development issues and trends. If you’d like to read more about the mysterious world of phone sourcing (it’s really not that mysterious!), Google my name and the word gatekeeper – lots of articles will come up for you that I’ve written over the years. It’ll be a good introduction for you to the subject!

Follow me on Twitter at @MaureenSharib and/or join my sourcing group on Facebook – Sourcers Unleashed.

Yes, I do (grudgingly) have a LinkedIn profile – send me an invite at maureen at – I’ll accept. I do post articles over there as well.

I own the phone sourcing/competitive sniffing firm, Inc. that helps companies find and telephone contact candidates for their hard-to-place positions at fractional traditional recruiting costs.

You can always contact me at 513 646 7306.

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Fire Your “Best” Client

By Veronica Scrimshaw

You're-FiredToday’s post is courtesy of guest blogger Kimberley Chesney. Kimberley is the owner of Prime Management Group in Canada, with offices in London and Kitchener (Ontario). Kimberley is a long-time volunteer for NPAworldwide, currently serving as Immediate Past Chair of our Board of Directors.

In the world of contingency recruiting, nothing is more frustrating than working so hard to find excellent candidates and then having your client go silent. Anyone reading this that has done third-party contingency recruiting will understand what I am talking about.

Here’s the scenario. You have done business with this client for many, many years. You have watched people come and go and you have always been able to defend some of their misguided reputation by explaining to candidates that they are going to change.

You have put up with “hurry up and wait” and have had candidates in holding patterns only to find that they accepted other opportunities because they too got frustrated about the so-called “opportunity of a lifetime.” You have listened to your contacts within the company complain about things and yet you remain patient, concerned and devoted to this long-time client.

Then it happens…You lose out on one, two, three or more placements because of delays.

You don’t receive any response after submitting a resume. You don’t receive the long-awaited feedback after an interview you arranged (after receiving the request less than 12 hours before the proposed interview time). You receive excuses (finally after trying to contact your client numerous times) about the delay. However, you do not receive any valuable information to share with your candidate in order to keep them in a holding pattern.

Finally, you have had enough and you remember that YOU are in control of what you will or will not put up with. You can make the decision to either wait it out or speak up.

Don’t misinterpret what I am saying here… no one wants to “fire” a client so you really have to assess the overall risk before you make that call.

One of the things you should NEVER compromise is YOUR own reputation and that of the recruitment company you work for. If you are enduring long bouts of silence regarding your work and this isn’t justified, candidates start questioning YOUR integrity – especially when you are the one who has to make excuses for your client.

When you finally make this difficult, yet powerful, decision you will have NOTHING to lose and everything to gain.

Many times, clients just don’t “get” what we do. They don’t have to, because they pay our fees to “put up” with their inconsistency. However it is up to you to educate them and explain that their silence and non-committal actions are causing their reputation to suffer. In addition, you need to explain that you will not have your own reputation suffer because of their lack of consideration.

Recently, we “fired” a client. It had a profound affect. The client simply didn’t understand what all the fuss was about and ended up apologizing and, more importantly, stopped the bottle neck and proceeded to interview and prepare offers for two different positions!

Talk about a win-win-win… Candidate happy, client happy and most importantly we were happy!

Take a look at what you are wasting your time on and see if you should be firing your “best” client.

Good Luck!

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Top 5 Growth Industries for Recruitment in 2015

By Sarah Gawrys

image of pie chartExciting times are reportedly ahead for independent recruiting firms as the REC Jobs Outlook Survey recently reported a 9% growth in the next two years. For firms, this is a good time of the year to focus on a sector that is rapidly growing, or try to change their focus to include those industries that have hit the top of the list. For students and job seekers, a new survey from Michigan State University has reported that hiring for new graduates is expected to jump by 16% next year. This increase is due to cautious hiring demand the past couple of years that is now taking off. While most of these will not surprise you, it is a good way to stay on top of the year ahead.

1. IT. A healthy 24% of the respondents to Computerworld’s 2015 Forecast survey said that their companies plan to add more IT employees in the year ahead. These were listed as the top 10 IT skills that would be in high demand in 2015:

  • Programming/application development
  • Project management
  • Help desk/technical support
  • Security/compliance governance
  • Web development
  • Database administration
  • Business intelligence/analytics
  • Mobile applications and device management
  • Networking
  • Big data

2. Engineering. This is an industry that will be seeking experienced candidates with more needed year after year. Highly experienced candidates are leaving due to retirement and the next generation needs to be able to fill in those gaps. Graduate recruitment for engineers will definitely experience a big drive in 2015.

3. Finance and Accounting. Clients in the financial services sectors are projecting huge increase in demand for staff. Financial analysts, area sales managers and relationship people, risk specialists and analysts as well as all of the associated IT, marketing, accounting, HR and other back-office people will all add to this sector growing in 2015.

4. Oil, Gas, and Energy. As oil becomes an even greater commodity, other forms of energy supplies will also start to develop, so specialists within the market will be at high demand with industries such as fracking and shale coming to front of the industry.

5. Life Sciences. Any industries that involve healthcare, pharmaceutical or sciences are going to also continue to see growth for years ahead because of the way the world is developing. Increases in the life span of the human race are causing more positions and more specializations to constantly pop up.

If you are looking to start expanding your recruitment firm in to another industry, a good way to do so is through help from other firms and recruiters that you can work with in a network organization.

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Networking Tips – How to Get the Most Out of the Event

By Veronica Scrimshaw

Mel-Kettle-PhotoMel Kettle is a communications and social media consultant, speaker, blogger, educator, coach, bookworm, obsessive foodie and eatie, and a budding photographer. She blogs on marketing and social media at Mel is passionate about working with organisations to show them how to communicate effectively so they can develop communities, share their stories and raise awareness. She particularly enjoys working with people who want to make a difference to other people’s lives. In her spare time Mel writes a food blog, The cook’s notebook.

My last blog post was about how to choose which networking events to go to.

So now that you have chosen, how are you going to make sure you get the most out of the event or conference? These are my top networking tips:

1.    Take LOTS of business cards – there is nothing more frustrating than meeting someone interesting and having to rely on them to contact you because THEY don’t have a card. Don’t be one of those people. Please. I am currently trying to track down a woman I met at a networking event recently to give her some work, but she didn’t have a card to give me, and hasn’t sent me her details – it’s making it a little tricky…

2.    Have a plan. Depending on the type of event, I generally plan to meet – and have a conversation with – a specific number of people. It might be one, it might be ten. The actual number depends on how much time will be allocated for networking, the format of the event and my mood at the time!

Try and have a look at the attendee list so you can see who will be there and where they are from – this can help you target specific people to talk to. With so many events now registering people online, it’s far easier to see who is going to be there, as often online lists are created. Some fabulous event organizers will even create a Twitter list or a Facebook group of attendees so you can start the conversation before you meet! How cool is that??

3.    Don’t just hang around with your friends or the people you are comfy with. Presumably you have gone to a networking event to network. So go and meet people! And yes, as an introvert I do know this can be difficult. Just talk to one new person. Please! It does get easier.

4.    Try and learn something about the people you meet. Don’t just fling around as many cards around as you can! You are better off meeting five people and finding out something about them so that a relationship can be established, rather than “meeting” 25 people you just give a card to. Be genuine about who you are when you are talking to people. Show interest in who they are and what they do. It’s not ALL about you!

5.    Follow up within a day or so. This can be as simple as sending an email saying you enjoyed meeting them. Or perhaps sending an interesting article you found that is about something they are interested in. Don’t send them reams of information about your business and how you want to work with them – unless they specifically asked for it.

6.    Please, please, please don’t drink too much alcohol at a networking or industry function. It doesn’t take much to ruin a hard-earned reputation. And no one really wants to talk to the tipsy chick or the drunk dude who is starting to slur his words.

7.    Most of all, have fun!

What are your top networking tips to make the most out of networking events?

Independent Recruiter Blog

Recruitment Agency Budget Ideas

By Veronica Scrimshaw

pink-piggy-bankThe end of the year is quickly approaching (gulp!), which means it’s a great time to think about next year’s business expenses. Here are a few areas you might review, whether you need to spend money or are looking to save some:

  • Telephone – A lot has changed in the telecom world over the past few years. We’ve been in the process of reviewing our telephone system and we have learned a lot! VoIP systems have improved greatly – you can probably lower your bill *and* get a system that allows for a more flexible work environment. While you’re at it, see how many lines you are paying for. Do you really need a dedicated fax line? How about that inbound toll-free number?
  • Internet – Slow Internet really doesn’t cut it anymore, especially as more and more software services move to the cloud. If you’re going to consider VoIP, make sure you have enough bandwidth to support it. Also, watch out for bandwidth ‘thieves’ – like streaming music and video.
  • ATS / Technology Tools – Again, the landscape has changed greatly. If it’s been awhile since you’ve been in the market for new technology tools, maybe it’s worth another look. Cloud-based subscriptions seem to be the current trend in software – this *might* mean an increase in monthly operating costs (no more skipping upgrade cycles). The upside is that you get upgrades as and when they occur, and you’re always using the ‘current’ version. Next, are you *really* using the full feature set with LinkedIn Recruiter, or could you switch to a less expensive option? What about job boards, aggregators, and advertising sites? Is there an opportunity to share a package with another recruiting firm? While you’re looking at software and tools, take a look at your hardware too. There are great deals on laptops between now and the end of the year! Can you move your email to the cloud and get rid of your mail server? What about a cloud-based back-up system? Money spent on that is cheap compared to the misery (not to mention time & expense) of recovering data after a catastrophic failure.
  • Website – If you haven’t spent any money on your website in the past 5 years, please, for the love of Pete, spend some next year! Invest in a fully mobilized site. Think about moving to a dynamic structure that allows you to easily edit and add content – instead of having to write constant small checks to your developer every time you need an update.
  • Marketing – Your recruitment agency budget definitely needs to include some money for marketing. That could mean investing in a tool to make it easier to send newsletters. It could mean outside help for print or digital advertising. It definitely includes printing and postage. How about your letterhead and business cards? Consider hiring a dedicated resource for social media, blogging, and SEO. Be careful you don’t get suckered by a scummy SEO outfit promising page one search results or anything else that sounds too good to be true.
  • Professional Development – Do you set aside money every year for your own professional development? What about your staff? There are a lot of affordable options for online and/or local educational opportunities. What is available through the Chamber of Commerce? Your local library? After that, look at memberships and professional associations. You may find a membership to a local chapter of a professional association offers educational, networking, and business development opportunities that provide value far in excess of the membership fee.
  • Business Process Outsourcing – Do you know how much time you spend on non-revenue-producing activities? How much does that cost in lost productivity? Consider outsourcing some of your business processes – you know, those nagging tasks that need to be done, but don’t directly tie to revenue. Data entry, database maintenance, research, sourcing, and email marketing are a few ideas worth pondering. Yes, it may seem like this is an additional expense, but it is probably cheaper than doing it yourself. You’ll be able to devote more time to revenue-producing activities. A few more placements each year could easily cover the cost of outsourcing.
  • Office Space – Are you still renting office space? Can you find less expensive space? Share with another firm? Relocate to a home office, and utilize flexible office space like Regus when you need to conduct interviews or have other in-person meetings. I’ve known solo-proprietor attorneys who share office space AND administrative support.
  • Taxes and Insurance – Review your insurance policies. Make sure you are covered for everything need, but aren’t overpaying. Errors and omissions insurance is worth considering, along with business interruption coverage. Remember to set aside enough cash for those pesky quarterly tax estimates – late fees and other penalties can add up quickly!

Do you have any great budget tips you can share? Comment below!

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Confirm Your Subscription Settings!

By Veronica Scrimshaw

We are migrating to a new email distribution service for our blog in January. Please click the button at the bottom of this post to confirm your subscription via the new provider. NOTE: This is a double-opt in process, so once you add your email address, you’ll receive an email with instructions to confirm your subscription. (Check your spam/junk folders if you don’t receive this email in a short period of time.) Unfortunately, there is no way to automatically ‘move’  subscribers over to the new service provider. If you do NOT re-subscribe with the new provider, you will stop receiving email notification of new posts sometime in early-to-mid January. We are hopeful this new solution will last for years into the future!

A few other notes:

  1. We are running parallel with BOTH distribution systems until early-to-mid January. Once you sign up for the new provider (Jetpack), you will most likely receive DUPLICATE email notifications every time we post – one delivered from Jetpack, and one delivered from Google/Feedburner.
  2. Once you confirm your new Jetpack subscription and receive your first blog post from Jetpack, you can safely unsubscribe from the Google/Feedburner distribution service.
  3. To cancel your old Google/Feedburner email subscription, simply use the “unsubscribe” link located at the bottom of the email message.

Thanks for being patient with us as we work to improve email delivery! Please drop me a note in the comments if you have any questions.


A Split Placement Story to Warm You Up This Winter

By Sarah Gawrys

man-reading-newspaperAs December approaches and Grand Rapids is already buried in snow, it is clear to see that winter has arrived. While this is no regular Christmas carol, this split placement tale from recruiters at NPAworldwide will at least bring good cheer. This network using a database connects different recruiters around the world and creates placements. With more than 400 member firms in 32 different countries, strong trading partners are always awaiting.

The use of teamwork and even more interesting, the practice of international teamwork, were what drove the placement that happened when Jason Brevard of Professional Outlook, Inc. (Holland, Michigan) and Dan Glass of Go Global Partners (Sydney, Australia) worked together to provide the best candidate for Jason’s client. According to Jason Brevard, he shared his open position in Texas, USA with the members of NPAworldwide and not long after he received a phone call from Dan Glass wanting to discuss this position. They spent some time discussing what the client was looking for and really, “all of the selling points for the role and company.” Within just a week or two Dan Glass was ready to present a couple of candidates. He brought to the table candidates that were qualified options that Jason was willing to present to the client with the position. Finally, within a few weeks the two recruiters had an offer and through their cooperative approach an acceptance soon followed. If you paid attention to the location of these firms, you will see how amazing it is that this placement was for a position in Texas, yet filled by recruiters in Michigan and Australia. Remember to keep your horizons broad when asking clients for roles you can fill, especially if you have expanded reach due to your connections.

Now, in speaking with Jason Brevard about this split, he wanted it to be clear that this was by no means a “slam dunk” placement. The moral of this story was that truly a combination of hard work and effort from both recruiters. Jason Brevard even stated, “This was a good example of an importer/exporter working together throughout the entire process.”

While NPAworldwide does offer the ability to access qualified candidates for your jobs and jobs for your candidates, the true key is having the ability to work with other recruiters to make your placement successful. This is something to remember even if you are not part of a trusted network, and make split placements on your own with reaching out through various avenues.

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Job Seeker Salaries on the Rise

By Veronica Scrimshaw

blue-arrows-growthI took a look at some of the placement data we capture from our members, and it is clear that job seeker salaries are on the rise compared to a year ago. In fact, two-thirds of the placements reported by our members this year involve a salary of at least USD $80,000 annually, compared to 63% of placements a year ago. In each of the past two years, the single largest salary category is $100,000 and above. The growth in job seeker salaries is consistent with a candidate-short market; traditional laws of supply-and-demand are clearly at work.

The highest salaries we have been seeing are in the chemical process and IT / hardware / software / electronics areas. Here is a sampling from the past four months:

  • Plant Manager, chemical industry, $180,000
  • Director of Operations, chemical industry, $175,000
  • Business Systems Project Manager, food & beverage industry, $163,000
  • IT Site Manager, food & beverage industry, $132,000
  • Senior Performance Analyst, software industry, $127,000
  • Senior Project Manager, oil/gas, drilling industry, $120,000
  • Test Engineer, electronics & semi-conductor industry, $118,000
  • Process Control Engineer, chemical industry, $110,000
  • Production Engineer, chemical industry, $105,000

It is interesting to note that in the chemical process segment, we have had both an increase in salaries as well as a decrease in the number of total placements year-over-year. Members are anecdotally reporting that clients are still too slow to hire, in the mistaken belief that there is still widespread unemployment. There is still tremendous demand for candidates (chemical process jobs represent about 37% of the total jobs in our shared database), in spite of the recent decline in the price of crude oil. Candidates have an extremely short shelf-life and are able to command multiple offers. Counteroffers have also increased as companies are reluctant to lose high-value employees, knowing they may not easily find new talent.

There has been a modest increase (6%) in placement activity in the IT / hardware / software / electronics segment, and another modest increase (7%) in the manufacturing / mining / construction /supply chain segment. Jobs in the IT / hardware / software / electronics segment remain especially plentiful and account for approximately 20% of the total openings shared by NPAworldwide members.

Independent recruiters should be in a position to financially benefit due to the rise in job seeker salaries and the continued talent shortage.

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