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Ian MacGibbon, Managing Director of Farrow Jamieson discusses the business of recruitment…

Iain MacGibbon is the Managing Director of Farrow Jamieson, an executive search and recruitment business that has been based in Newmarket for over 30 years. During that period the firm has been located in four different buildings all on or near, Carlton Gore Road.

Newmarket is a fabulous place to work as it is easy to get into town for meetings, candidates can always find parking and the coffee in Newmarket is the best in Auckland. My current go-to for coffee is Mutual Friends in Morgan Street, simply superb.

At the moment there is a lot of talk about work flexibility and the requirements for flexible workforces. This is brought on by the increasing commuter traffic and the fact that many people are facing an hour or more a day getting to and from work. There is pressure for companies to be flexible about start times, working from home and/or alternate arrangements that allow people to be productive. This movement started with some of the corporates but is now becoming much more mainstream. One of the first things that candidates enquire about when we approach them for a new role is “where is it located?” so they can judge whether it will fit in to their lifestyle.

Since moving most of our own systems in to the “cloud” a few years ago we have now created our own flexibility whereby consultants making phone calls from their computers are not required to be sitting at a desk but rather can be productive at different times and places. Another factor that is predominant at the moment is discussion about whether millennials are difficult to employ or have a “poor attitude to work”. The fact is millennials are no different to any other younger employees who are looking to advance. They want to know that their skills are going to be increased in a role via training and project opportunities.

The reality is that if a company slows down that skill development or increased responsibility, that person will move and, in this market, (with such a low unemployment rate) they know they are employable. The onus is therefore on companies to provide stimulating challenges to employees, flexibility in their work and a feeling that they are contributing to something that has purpose rather than just undertaking a job with the dollar value reward.

In the past candidates tended to follow a fairly linear career path, starting with a role and then progressing “up the ladder” often within the same company. Today, a candidate’s career path can look more like a ping pong game. As opportunities emerge they are willing to risk taking another role in a different industry, or start up or their own venture. Their heroes are not the “captains of industry”, they are the people who risked everything on an idea/start-up/venture. So, don’t criticise the millennial for taking a tangent in their career, see it as someone who will take a risk to advance.

Having been involved in executive search and recruitment for a long time I get asked “what’s the most enjoyable part of the role and why are you still doing it?”. The reality is that we are very privileged in that we can assist both companies and individuals at a point where magic happens. By that I mean because of our experience and ability to identify the key attributes of people, we can talk to companies about hiring somebody that they may not have considered. When that works you know that the career for that individual and the enhancement for that company with a new employee wouldn’t have happened without your involvement. The short answer is that’s why I’m still doing it.


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