The land down under.  Oz.  Crocodile country.  Australia has a number of different nick names.  It is on the other side of the world from the United States, and I am continually fascinated by the country.  A couple of weeks ago, I collaborated with Mark Smith, Director at people2people and we talked about The Differences In Recruiting Candidates In Australia and the USA.  This week, we continue the #globalrecruitment series and take a close look at Agency Recruiting.  This time, Marc and I agree.  Australia may be 15 hours different, but we have exactly the same attitude on this topic.

Mark, How is agency recruiting different from corporate recruiting?  What percentage of companies use agencies and why would they use one?


 In a word, sales!

Agency recruiters are engineered for selling. Unlike corporate recruiters they need to generate the roles they are working on by going to the market and demonstrating to potential clients why they are more appropriate to use then their competitors. Internal recruiters have a captured market and although they have internal customers both the provider and the receiver of the service know that it’s ‘free’ and consequently treat the relationship differently. When a line manager engages an external recruiter the prospect of a fee creates an expectation of service levels.

Sales, and the skills required are not just about getting the opportunity from a potential client. A good recruiter is selling any prospective opportunity to the best talent. They are selling talent to prospective employers. Much of these skills is what Greg Savage calls the çraft of recruitment’. The ability of a recruiter to consult and secure the best opportunity for job seekers and the best talent for vacancies.

Another difference between agency and corporate recruitment is the prevalence of temp and contract roles. Internal recruitment teams are primarily focused on permanent recruitment whilst the trend in agency recruitment is toward temporary and contract placements. It is true that the casualization of the Australian workforce continues at a pace.

Trying to get some stats on how many companies use recruitment is very difficult. The number is much lower then many in the industry would have you believe and I would suggest is less than 20%. Having said this there are 3300 members of the RCSA in Australia and New Zealand so the industry is still strong and competitive. The spend on recruitment agencies in Australia exceeds A$12b annually.