The number of channel job vacancies is at an all-time high, but the number of applications has reached a record low, according to a recruiter who branded the situation "bonkers".
Marc Sumner (pictured below), managing director of channel recruiter Robertson Sumner, said that the situation is now "worrying" for channel firms which are struggling to attract staff in order to grow.
"No one is moving and no one is looking, but everyone is hiring," he said. "It is pretty scary. It's bonkers!"
He said February was the first ever month that his firm did not place anyone who applied from a job advert, with placements coming from referrals or direct approaches instead. Last month, vacancies in the channel reached an all-time high, up 30 per cent from February last year, Sumner said. But in the same month, applications via job adverts reached an all-time low, down 22 per cent annually.
As a result, he and staff-hungry firms are having to change their approach to recruiting.
"We're having to really, really seduce people on LinkedIn," he said. "Packages are going through the roof, because what else can you do? They're putting adverts out and no one is applying.
"Companies are having to be really creative. Just putting an advert out and hoping people will apply for it – those days are gone. It is really challenging. You'll see lots of stuff on LinkedIn with companies saying they're having record months and 'we're hiring this and that', but then they're doing the same thing the next month because every company is saying 'Marc, we want 20 people off you'. I say 'I'm not Paul Daniels, I can't magic these people out of thin air'. There's no one applying, where can we get them from?"
Channel firms have been keen to boost staff incentives in recent years – last week, CRN compiled a list of the quirkiest job perks in the channel. But Sumner said certain perks are now seen as standard, meaning they do not lure recruits.
"We get it all the time – companies say 'we do lunch clubs, incentives, flexible working' and so on," he said. "Everyone does that now – it's standard. When I meet an MD, they don't like the feedback. It's like 'OK, you take your team to the President's Club every year and there's gym membership and so on' but every channel company on the planet does that. They look at me like 'what can we do?'. You're going to have to think of something different!"
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