The BIG Recruiting Issues #TruSA

The #tru carnival is continuing this week, with events in Johannesburg  on the 9′th November and CapeTown on the 11′th. I’m really looking forward to this first venture in to Africa, and to what the local recruiters will have to say about the market. We have close to 150 booked for Jo’burg and 70 for Cape Town, so it is going to be a very busy and interesting 2 days, with mostly third-party and corporate recruiters attending.

Having spoken with a number of the track leaders today about what their issues and expectations are, got me thinking again about what issues recruiters share wherever they might be in the globe, and what issues are local ones.

The local issues are usually related to legal issues, or culture issues. At #truSanFran, John Sumser gave some great examples of how you needed to take a different approach from one state to another. forget the global issues, how you would find and reach potential candidates can be significantly different. This discussion was backed up by an example from Broadbean founder Kelly Robinson, who gave an example of a company he has recently worked with, who have developed a real social network of people with local influence. This isn’t an on-line network, it’s a collection of people like Pastors, teachers etc who have local reach and influence. The business matches the best people to spread news of a job opening to the local community, and reach people who can do the job. most of the communication is by post, and this is hugely succesful.

My immediate reaction was that this was probably a bit  was probably a bit small fry. i can see how it works, but can you really do this on scale? This business turns over more than $100Mn doing this, so clearly they are anything but small. Recruiters have always had a little black book, but the focus on this has got a bit lost with the advent of social networks. No matter where you are in the world, there is no substitute for local knowledge and local connections. connections that go beyond a linked In connection or Facebook friend. When you are recruiting outside of your area, your first challenge should be to understand local custom and practice, as well as where to start looking. Understand that culture and influence varies even on a local basis.

Another example of this came up in a conversation with Intelligence Software founder, and the driving force behind #truSA, Shane McCusker. Here in South Africa, there is legislation that gives preference to certain sections of the workforce. Points are awarded for groups of workers with the aim of creating diversity in the workforce. This is a commendable aim, but can create real difficulty for recruiters because any under representation of any group in the workforce means a real scarcity of candidates. Shane has a very good take on this, because the only other country we are aware of where the rules are so strict is Northern Ireland, based on the Catholic and Protestant mix,  against a history of years and years of discrimination. The reality when you are recruiting is that there is always local differences, and no one size fits all.

Moving from country to country with #Tru, there are however common conversations amongst those in the people space.

The common conversations I hear are:

1: Talent has never been harder to hire. The in demand skills are scarce, and those in work are reluctant to risk moving.

2: Hiring managers are showing limited flexibility to transferable skills. They would rather carry a vacant post than take a risk on anything but a 100% match.

3: Vendor agreements are driving down margins and fees for third-party recruiters, and the perception of value in the service is diminishing.

4: Negative equity is the biggest barrier to relocation.

5: Marketing and recruiting within the corporate sector are becoming one in the same thing.

6: Employer brand is having an increasing impact on people’s decision to change employer.

7: Recruiters time is limited, and the focus is largely on the now and less in the future.

8: A talent community mostly needs a big brand name to back it up.

9: Facebook is becoming more useful as a recruiting channel, but LinkedIn sourcing is still the recruiters choice.

10: Mobile will become more important in recruiting, we are just unsure how.

11: Social-media is not free, and takes a longer than anticipated time to get a return.

12: Legal issues (perceived or otherwise), are the number one concerns recruiters express about using social for recruiting.

13: Time, and the need for results now are the biggest barriers to innovation.

14: Education is not producing graduates who are ready for work or who know how to get a job.

15: The A.T.S. is the biggest barrier in the recruiting process.

16: The candidate experience is not very good.

This list is by no means exhaustive, or necessarily reflect my own views. These are the common themes that have come up from #Tru events across the globe, that I felt were worth sharing.

Whats your thoughts?


Social South Africa #truSA

On Thursday 15′th September, at 9.00 GMT, i’m going to be running a webinar for the South African Recruiters Group on Social Recruiting. We will be running a second session at 10.00, as there is already over 180 attendees signed up.
In advance of the webinar, I’ve been checking a few stats on social media in South Africa. As always, my first port of call for any research is the excellent Social Bakers website. If you don’t know Social Bakers, or havent looked for a while, it’s a wealth of information broken down country to country, and very easy to navigate. From today, Social Bakers includes Twitter and LinkedIn stats to go alongside the comprehensive Facebook numbers. You should check out the site if you are planning anything in the social space.

I have also included data from Universal McCann’s annual social media tracker, Wave 4 who, included South Africa for the first time in its 2009 research. According to Wave, 25 percent of South Africa’s active internet users have uploaded videos to a video sharing site. Two million have had a brush with at least one social web site (even if only to read someone’s blog or to watch a video), and 1.4 million have a social network profile. (Taken from the report “On-line social habits of South Africans.”

Here are a few numbers that give a good background to the social media landscape.

LinkedIn Users: 1 351 022 Facebook Users: 4 401 720

25.49% of the on-line population have a LinkedIn account representing 2.75% of the population.
South Africa is the only African country listed in the top 50 LinkedIn users and penetration, ranked at 14.
Facebook penetration for the population is 8.96% which represents nearly 84% of the on-line population.

As a comparison, Africa as a continent has 33, 932, 940 registered Facebook accounts which represents 3.64% of the total population. South Africa sits second in users and penetration to Egypt, who have 8 551 420 users, representing 10.63% of the population, perhaps reflecting events over the last 6 months.

Facebook users in South Africa have grown by 15% over the last 3 months, a continuing upward trend.

Over 55% of Facebook access in South Africa is via mobile.

A few other Facebook  stats from Social Bakers.

Age demographics for Facebook users in South Africa

Growth in Facebook users in S.A.over the last 6 months

Average costs for Facebook advertising in S.A.

In researching this post, I found a great report from Fuseware on Twitter use in South Africa. Te report is a bit dated, published in April 2010, but the data tells a good story. To put the numbers in context now, in Jan 2011 there were 1Mn twitter users in South Africa, up from 90,000 in Jan 2010. (John Bell: Digital Influence Project.), This represents a remarkable 10 x growth. Based on this growth,it is safe to assume that Twitter has passed LinkedIn for users,bettered  only by Facebook.

 Twitter Stats for South Africa from Jan 2010: (Source: Fuseware.net.)

  • 4.5% of South African sites reference Twitter
  • 1.5Mn tweets from South Africa per month
  • In  April 2010 Twitter was the 7th most visited site in South Africa
  • 12.96% of SA Twitter accounts have geo-location enabled
  • 35-40% of Tweets originate from a Mobile Device

What are they Tweeting about?

  • 23% are retweets
  • 17.3% are Questions
  • 24.5% of Tweets contain links
  • 47% of Tweets address another user – showing that the users that do actually Tweet are actively engaging in conversation with fellow Twitterati
Measured by number of unique visits, Twitter ranks higher in South Africa than anywhere else in the world!
The MWEB Friendship surveyed 401  South Africans aged over 18 on their internet use. the survey found that 76 percent of internet-enabled South Africans go to social networking sites. Applied to total internet population that means that almost 4 million South Africans frequent social sites – a figure that is roughly double the one given by Wave 4.
The Friendship survey ranked Facebook overwhelmingly at number 1. 74 % of South African Facebook users surveyed in Friendship 2.0 access this platform at least once a day!
 YouTube was ranked at number 2, with 32% of respondents recording that they viewed video on YouTube.
According to the blog “On-line social media habits in South Africa, there are only an estimated 100 users uploading video on the dedicated YouTube channel, YouTube.Co.Za, (the first local YouTube channel in Africa.) Views per channel range from 1.3Mn to 4,000 per channel.
Alexa ranks YouTube.Com as the 4′th most popular site in South Africa.

Given this result from those active in social channels, considering the very low number of South African channels, this is perhaps the most under utilised social media channel for recruiting. Food for thought?

The other social media channel listed was MxIt. For those unfamiliar with the region, MxIt is a local social media channel operated through mobile. It’s free, being very similar in functionality to the better known Blackberry Messenger. Whilst this channel is available via the internet, 90% of users access by mobile.
There are  an estimated 19Mn users in South Africa, dwarfing all other channels in size.
Interestingly, the friendship report ranked Mxit in 3′rd place with 29% of the respondents reporting using the channel. This could be explained by the ages of users, the majority being in their teens. In the same report, Twitter came a very close 4′th with 28%.
 I will be covering these numbers as part of the webinar, as well as ways in which the channels are being utilised for recruiting. I think the numbers speak for themselves, Facebook should be central to social recruiting strategy in South Africa. LinkedIn is the most logical place to source, but the least populated and popular. Twitter, YouTube and Mxit should definitely be included in the mix.
Bloggingis not yet a popular pastime in South Africa, with an estimated 5,000 blogs published. Whilst there are not lots of blogs compared with other over subscribed countries, this offers a real opportunity for recruiters and hiring companies to stand out with limited competition.
With over 50% of social media access coming via mobile, then this is another essential consideration.
In partnership with 1ntelligence software, we will bringing #tru to South Africa, in Johannesburg on the 9′th November, and Capetown on the 11′th November. #tru provides a great environment for exploring social recruiting and best practice. Hope to see you there.