As we reach the midpoint of the year, this provides a valuable opportunity for both businesses and candidates to reflect on the progress made so far and the potential they aim to uncap in the remaining months of 2023.

We’ve leapt at the opportunity for reflection too, and this week in the clinic, we have been speaking to the CEO and founder of Noble Futures, Tony Noble, to gain insights from his own reflections on the industry’s performance this year.

Tony, what are your reflections on the last six months at Noble Futures and the industry?

Tony: The past six months at Noble Futures have been incredibly positive for our business. We have experienced significant growth, increasing our headcount by 33% since January 2023 to meet the demands of our clients. What’s even more exciting is that this growth trend shows no signs of slowing down, as we have plans for a further 25% increase in headcount before the end of 2023.

In the first half of 2023, the industry has witnessed noticeable changes from a candidate perspective as we continue to transition from the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown measures. An evident shift is occurring in candidates’ preferences, with a growing interest in hybrid roles that combine in-person and remote work, slowly surpassing the previous focus on solely remote positions. Businesses are actively adapting to meet these evolving demands and cater to the needs of their workforce.

While recruitment in traditional areas remains steady, there is a heightened demand for new skills, particularly as companies delve into the realm of AI and leverage technological advancements to automate their operations. 

Overall, the past six months have been marked by positive developments, with businesses gaining a renewed sense of confidence in their recent growth. This newfound confidence has empowered them to expand their teams further and explore new avenues for business and communication.

How would you describe the current recruitment job market?

Tony: The current recruitment job market has been characterised by a high number of vacancies due to the strong demand for candidates. This has been amplified by the slowdown in candidates actively moving roles. The changes and the recent unstable nature of the economy have influenced this. 

As a result, we are dedicating more time to engage with candidates who are genuinely interested in making a career move and feel confident about investigating new opportunities. Our consultants have always been committed to ensuring that any move aligns with the candidate’s career development, and this approach has instilled confidence in our candidates when working with Noble Futures.

Additionally, as digitisation continues to advance, there has been an increased demand for our specialised recruitment services. At Noble Futures, our gold standard processes include headhunting and a comprehensive market search for every hire. The combination of a slower candidate move and the rise of digitisation has made our services significantly important for clients seeking to hire in the current market. Consequently, we have seen a real increase in the demand for our headhunting and personalised services, resulting in great success for Noble Futures.

What developments or changes do you anticipate in the near future?

Tony: In the near future, I anticipate that companies in our industries will increasingly need to hire candidates with completely new skills. Similar to the period when online shopping revolutionised the retail space, we expect positions such as data analysts to be in high demand across all areas of the industry.

Moreover, individuals with skills in interpreting technology and engaging with AI will play a crucial role in helping companies bridge the gap between customers and suppliers without sacrificing the human touch.

Also, the Biotech sphere and innovative start-ups are poised for significant growth, as currently, this area is presenting many opportunities. As companies, both startups and larger corporations, adopt new technologies to enhance animal medicine, nutrition, and welfare, the demand for professionals in this field is on the rise. Forward-thinking organisations are swiftly adapting to these advancements and utilising emerging technologies to create new and exciting revenue streams.

What recommendations would you give to businesses currently planning their hiring strategies?

Tony: I would strongly recommend that businesses have a structured plan in place and collaborate with reputable recruiters who can commit to timelines. A structured plan, partnered with a quality recruitment agency, allows companies to effectively manage their timelines, budgets, and expectations while ensuring timely delivery. 

It is crucial for companies to work in a structured manner with their recruiters to avoid delays and lags, as these can undermine candidate confidence and result in more dropouts and extended hiring times. Slow time to hire often leads to lost revenue opportunities and increased pressure and stress on the existing workforce, which can create internal problems and ultimately necessitate more headcount due to attrition.

How has the establishment of dedicated business units for Agriculture and Animal Health at Noble Futures influenced your recruitment processes?

Tony: The establishment of dedicated business units, one for Animal Health and Pet and another for Agriculture and Equine at Noble Futures, has had a significant impact on our recruitment processes. It has allowed us to increase our focus in these areas and develop a deeper industry knowledge base among our consultants.

They have become true specialists in their respective fields. By focusing on dedicated business units, our already industry-experienced recruiters can remain fully engaged with current affairs, trends, and changes that influence the industries we serve. This enables us to provide comprehensive and consultative recruitment services to our clients.

We are extremely pleased with the positive results this growth has brought to our business and envisage as we continue to grow and these units develop again; they will each split out into 4 individualised units of Animal Health, Pet, Agriculture and Equine in the short future.

Overall, what message would you like to convey to hiring companies?

Tony: My overall message to hiring companies is to remain open-minded and agile as we move forward into the rest of 2023 and beyond. The market, trends, and candidate requirements are constantly evolving. By embracing new skills and exploring unexpected potential, businesses can gain significant advantages and drive success.