I’m in Cayman this week, a place where newspaper advertising still dominates the recruitment landscape and a sluggish local economy continues to effect the employment marketplace.
Official unemployment rates remain low (c 5%, which is close to full employment) but are masked by the fact that nearly 6,000 expats have left the islands in the last 2 years as work permits were not renewed and people were laid off. The effect on local businesses has been devastating with income down in retail and service businesses that feel the effects of a 10% reduction in the islands’ population. This coupled with increased rates, import duties and immigration fees are threatening many local businesses and prolonging the downturn.
All is not lost though; the daily newspapers continue to advertise plenty of vacancies; many of them are work permit renewals but nonetheless remain opportunities for locally skilled professionals, or at least that is the theory. Slotted in among the high profile professional vacancies are a number of administrative positions that are quite obviously aimed at Caymanians, which is surely a good sign.
Recruitment advertising in the national press back in Ireland, where our head office is based show about half the number of employment vacancies as Cayman despite the fact that Ireland’s population is close to 100 times the size of the Cayman Islands.
Is Ireland suffering so much more than Cayman? Yes and No. For starters, Cayman will continue to be a stronghold in offshore finance and the jobs will slowly return as the global economic recovery continues whereas Ireland is feeling the deep pain of a massive property bubble that has wiped out a construction sector that previously contributed 40% to the economy.
The recruitment landscape is also much more developed in Ireland and companies no longer rely on newspaper advertising to source staff. Ireland is home to most of the world’s most admired technology companies including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and eBay and all of these companies source directly using sophisticated social media and on-line tools. Cayman has yet to embrace these powerful advances in recruitment sourcing, partly because it remains a requirement of immigration that all vacant positions must be advertised in the local newspapers before a company can apply for a work permit, but largely because it has traditionally been slow to embrace new technology, not something that you would expect from the 5th largest financial services jurisdiction in the world (although I suspect that Cayman has slipped in that much touted list).
The fact is that newspaper is no longer the most effective method of recruiting staff; even traditional recruitment agencies regularly fail to deliver a competitive service in this post-recession world. CaymanJobs on Facebook is currently the only true source of direct jobs in Cayman available on any of the key social media sites. How long will it remain on its own? Hopefully not too long as international companies and local businesses alike realise that there is a massive pool of international talent out there within reach of them. The world has changed and recruitment is changing with it.Socia