Tuesday, October 17, 2006

IT staffing entering commodity market ?

With the emergence of new brand of web recruitment sites, specially Blue Chip Expert, it has been pointed out that these systems were pushing the market of high competencies staffing to a commodity market and put quality aside.

Permit me a word about my own experience as independent IT contractor.

I'm on the market since more than 10 years as independent (before I ran my own company for 11 years) I always been successful in all my missions and make a point to have always done much more than requested, because in the first place I love my job, and it's a pleasure for me to give satisfaction.
From 1996 to 2005 (I've been working continuously for a large group from 2000 to 2005) I never had to look for a mission, clients called directly.
But since more than a year now, I struggle finding a mission. I realized that in fact I've no more access to my clients directly.

Every big company has constituted lists of agreed providers (major ones) and they don't want to agree any little company, not to speak of individuals ...
I do interpret this as the true sign of a commodity market.
Arrangements initiated now between professional purchasers and professional recruiters.
Neither the professional in need of competencies, nor the competencies by itself are given the opportunity to exchange directly.
I find myself facing recruiters who don't now a word of my profession, who are unable to explain what's their clients is looking for precisely and who mechanically go on with you through the typical interview guide with craps like "how do you behave under stress" and ending by "what would be your ideal job" ...

In this play they are going to choose the one they think the client should appreciate given what they supposed their client's criteria should be !
This buggy formulation is the equivalent of the sanity of the situation.
They are looking for magical words matching exactly the one on the list.
They are eliminating people who ask questions about the content of the mission.
They are eliminating older one's (with the presumption that new technologies could not be a thing understandable to the ones over 40)

That's the picture of how things are - most of the time - working in Europe, I don't know about other market places. (Feedback appreciated)
Not to speak of the prices : up to July 2005 I've been working for 680 € / day and now it's difficult to ask more than 450 € / day for similar mission.

So when something like Blue Chip Expert something appears, a lot of consultants will accept the idea because most of the recruitment companies are no more doing their job, they have accepted the commodity inflexion their clients have initiated on the market, the weaker they were, the most easily they have accepted and adapted to this degradation, this "decadence", envisioning this as the unique opportunity to survive.

A last word, about quality, they are many ways for considering it.
First, there is the intrinsic quality of each individuals consultants, at a given time it is what it is, I mean the market has to deal with it as it is at a given time.
This is to say that, whatever be the way demand and offer is matched, a mean quality will result depending of the mean quality of every stakeholders.

Now quality could be envisioned as the ability to improve : if this market has a bit of intelligence, it will try to coax interests, behaviors, knowledge toward desirable directions, it will take into account future and will want to capitalize on present actions in order to match the foreseen evolution, it will project itself with a goal, this attitude should be part of any stakeholders on any market, given one is aware of its extended responsibilities.

Surely system like Blue Chip Expert are not embarrassing themselves with such considerations, but today anyhow, this awareness seems the exception and is even becoming a handicap if you want to work.

In conclusion, regarding my personal situation, I feel kept apart of my natural market by a threatening organization, and enrolled Blue Chip Expert as an opportunity to escape this trap with the idea that it can't be worse than the way the market is working.

So YES I do think our formerly high end market has already turned - for a large part - to a commodity market.

Is it for the benefit of our economy ?

Just tell me !

No comments: