Continuing the theme of reflecting on our milestone achievement, Slade Group has been looking back on our 50 year journey from the early days back in 1967, to present day and beyond. In 2017 we are reshaping our vision for the future and anticipating what challenges may lay ahead for our business, the broader landscape of Australian organisations, and people @work. We present the following article, which was published on recruitment industry news site Shortlist.
Slade Group celebrates its 50 year anniversary this month, founder and chair Geoff Slade reflects on the demise of generalists and where recruitment is headed.
“The day of generalists has pretty much passed. I will willingly admit I’m a generalist myself, but that’s something that’s happened over the evolution of time. The future consultants will be very focused; they’ll have a vertical talent community to look after,” he told Shortlist.
Slade Group, which employs 40 staff, hasn’t dramatically changed its approach to recruitment since it first started in the industry in 1967 as GW Slade and Associates, he notes.
Trust remains the most valuable currency in the industry, and will become even more important for consultants who will have to build a community of perhaps 100–120 people, he says.
“There’s been some big challenges with the advent of Seek and LinkedIn in particular, but I think the key to [surviving] it has been the ability to adapt.”
Client and candidate one and the same
Many recruiters “have missed the boat” in terms of understanding the candidate is as much a client as the organisation paying the fee, says Slade. “That [understanding] is something that has served us well over the 50 years.”
He says the company’s emphasis on building relationships has resulted in lasting staff tenures – with some consultants working at Slade for 10 or 20 years – and long-term client retention.
“If you look at the professional services end of the market, we’ve got a lot of contracts with universities – some going back over 10 years – where we’ve had to fight off competition every three years when they’ve put it out to tender.”
The company aims for a mix of experienced consultants and those with background in their specialisation, along with fledgling recruiters, and it devotes resources not just to coaching and developing staff as consultants, “but as people”, Slade says.
“Onboarding is important. We don’t just say ‘here’s your desk, here’s your phone, you’re a consultant now go to it’.”
Education, healthcare, and property are Slade Group’s fastest growing sectors, he says, but expanding into other areas depends on the calibre of people it can attract to drive growth.