On Wednesday, Google let go of hundreds from its once nearly 3,000-strong recruiting team in its latest round of layoffs, saying it was “meaningfully slowing the pace of overall hiring” and “made the hard decision to reduce the size of (our) recruiting team”.
Industry insiders estimate that during the hiring boom, led by tech, thousands of recruitment professionals had jumped ship from staffing/recruitment/search firms to take up corporate talent acquisition roles, at up to 40-100% salary jumps.
Many of these professionals have been facing the heat for some time now, recruitment and executive search firms including ABC Consultants, EMA Partners, and Randstad said, as a scaling back in hiring leaves them with little to do. “I am flooded with messages from recruiters wanting to join us,” said Viswanath PS, CEO of Randstad. Some who left Randstad to join corporates have now returned, he added. But several of these professionals are finding it hard to land opportunities as the overall hiring market has slowed down. “This (headhunters looking to rejoin hiring firms) is coinciding with the fact that while we are still hiring recruiters, we have also slowed down the previous pace,” said Shiv Agrawal, managing director of ABC Consultants.
“But we work across sectors. For some tech companies, hiring has come to a near-standstill,” he added. While salaries at recruitment/executive search firms have a fixed and variable component – the latter can be very significant depending on performance – corporates mostly pay a fixed salary to their recruiting staff.
“When hiring was booming post-pandemic, many corporates decided they would build their own recruitment armies – often at a huge, fixed-cost base,” said K Sudarshan, managing director of EMA Partners.
“In good times, everything is hunky-dory. But when a hiring slowdown/freeze happens, the first ones to be impacted are recruiters,” he said, adding that many such professionals reach out to him. “Corporates will say they scaled up recruitment teams because it was the need of the hour. But hiring activity waxes and wanes. And if there is a hiring freeze, then for these professionals, whose core skills are recruitment, there is no real job in organisation,” Sudarshan said.