Over the festive break I had the opportunity to reflect on the first year in business for TSR, realizing that we achieved great success in an exceptionally tough market. Our success, we maintain, is the belief and fierce defense of our position as talent expert partners to our clients. It pains me to see that many still view our industry as ‘order takers’ or ‘agents’ and we’re simply so much more than that!

Time for the industry to evolve

In a market where business continues to fight for skill, the importance of the role we play as experts in our field is critical for long-term organisational success. The advent of technology, whilst seemingly creating greater connectivity and access to information for our clients as well as us, has in fact also created challenges for many who struggle to get to grips with the skills required to harness big data. In addition, the collaborative nature of the 4th industrial revolution requires all of us to recognise that networking, transparency, cooperation and sharing are the cornerstones of success. The idea that that we’re all competitors (and islands of our own) will no longer bring us the outcomes we desire. We will continue to partner with like-minded professionals in growing our networks and expanding our value to clients and candidates alike.

An observation I’ve also made is that we continue to work in contradiction with our core business, failing to provide the type of work environments and EVPs we demand of our clients in a scarce skills market. By failing to retain good people and then choosing to pursue highly restrictive restraints against consultants, we are simply denying these individuals, who are professionals in the recruitment/talent acquisition field, their freedom of employment choice, including moving between employers (agencies). These antiquated tactics are the reason that many recruiters still think the answer lies in sneaking off to another agency and operating under a pseudonym.  It’s time that we recognise that the market is big enough and that whilst we should absolutely respect one another’s protectable business interests, holding consultants to ransom with complex restraints and bullying tactics is not the answer.

We remain committed to building a brand that clients, candidates and our specialist consultants can be proud to be associated with and challenge others in the industry to do the same. Raising our game will enable us to shrug off the demeaning labels of “order taker” and “agent” and help us to stand firm under continued pressure to simply drop fees.

Changing Business Models

As TSR steams forward into its second year of operation we’ve noticed an increase in demand from clients for non-contingency recruitment services, most especially talent mapping and research. With Leigh Swartz on board, heading up our dedicated research division, we’ve successfully presented several large research pieces for some of SA’s leading corporate brands. The research space has also allowed us the opportunity to take a bird’s eye view of our niche markets and to unpack some of the challenges and opportunities that face all of us trying to capture the skills necessary for success in the 21st century marketplace. Our White Paper Talent Trends: Data Science, provided an overview of the challenges facing organisation’s seeking to employ the skilled individuals critical to unlocking the opportunity that resides in the mountains of data collected by businesses daily.

We are currently working on a new piece, TSR Talent Forecast 2018, that examines the talent landscape in South Africa and the trends we believe, through our experiences with top employers and highly skilled individuals, will shape talent attraction and retention strategies for the year ahead. We look forward to sharing this in Feb 2018.

Transformation Enablers

Transformation remains a priority for most of our clients and we recognise the role that we play in facilitating this change. Through our commitment to understanding our clients’ businesses, and the overall objectives, we guide our clients to success, taking cognizance that recruitment within our highly skilled niche areas isn’t a quick-fix, easy placement environment at the best of times, and particularly when focusing on improving demographic representivity.

Of great pride to us in reflecting on 2017 is that of the 36 high-skilled roles placed, 32 were EE candidates, more than half of which were Black African.

I am especially proud of the contribution TSR has made in driving transformation and changing the face of corporate South Africa in the areas that we work.

Building Better Relationships

Our strategy for 2018 remains the same: Be the trusted advisor, adding value and offering expert insight to both our clients and candidates. We continue to focus on building relationships that are based on mutual respect, trust, credibility and the belief that by working together we can all achieve our goals. Our team has grown substantially and our consultants, all proven recruitment specialists, work closely with our clients and candidates to facilitate mutually beneficial career moves.

We look forward to another successful year and to working with existing – and new – clients and candidates.