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Recruitment battles in the USA – could it happen here?


The battle that companies are waging to find qualified
employees is intensifying and the competition for the scant prospects is forcing many companies to employ new tactics
to fill their needs.

``The job market is brutal right now, and there's a chance it could get worse before it gets better,'' said William Pfannenstiel, vice president of Manpower Professional,the unit of Manpower Inc. that focuses on professional services
including telecom, information technology, engineering, scientific and finance. ``Companies are casting bigger nets, and using bigger lures, to fill jobs that once had multiple candidates.''

The Labor Department announced Thursday that the figure of 260,000 Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits is the lowest since December 1973. Economists consider anything below 300,000 to be a sign of a tight labor market.

``The effects on companies are dramatic,'' Pfannenstiel said. ``Signing bonuses are becoming much more common. In some industries, such as telecommunications and IT, we are conducting global searches to fill positions. National
searches are the routine.''

Recently, Manpower helped recruit several hundred telecom engineers for a massive job in Brazil, and has filled individual engineering positions in Korea and telecom / networking jobs in Egypt with candidates from the United States.

The risk of hiring under pressure

``There are a number of challenges to hiring a candidate in this kind of job market,'' Pfannenstiel said. ``First, you're probably competing with other offers, so there's pressure to decide fast on a candidate. Second, if the individual doesn't work out, it's costly and time-consuming to start the search over again.''

For that reason, Pfannenstiel sees more companies looking at contract employees as a serious option. This approach allows the company to see the individual in action before making a long-term commitment, while giving the employee the chance to try the job on for size.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, contract employment has become an integral part of the U.S. economy -
nearly 5.6 million workers were employed in temporary positions in 1996, the last year for which figures are available. This trend is growing rapidly in the professional ranks.

``We receive 60,000 resumes each month from professionals interested in pursuing contract employment and the flexibility it offers,'' Pfannenstiel said. ``Just as more professionals are trying contract employment, we expect that more companies will rethink the way they attract candidates in order to procure the skills they need.''

Manpower Inc. is the world's leading provider of staffing solutions. The company, which annually provides employment
and training to more than 2 million people, maintains 3,400 offices in 52 countries, including more than 160 Manpower
Professional offices that specialize in the assignment of information technology, engineering, scientific, finance,
telecommunications, marketing, human resource and quality professionals. For more information, visit Manpower's
Web site at


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