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Conference sees recognition of 'free agent' and the internet - 11/2000

The new breed of employee

Business Forums International's www.Recruitment Conference 2000 saw recognition by some of the UK's biggest employers of a new breed of employee - the 'free agent'.

Presentations by British Airways, Waitrose, Louis Vuitton - Moet Hennessy, Alexander Mann and Monster.co.uk were peppered with references to a new type of worker to whom life-long learning is a key requirement rather than a lifetime of employment. The fluid workforce, it was said, will be increasingly evaluating prospective employers on their recruitment expertise and presentation with speed of response standing as a defining factor.

Employees of the future will become their own personal career managers and head-hunters. Career risk will be transferred to the employee, and technology, such as the Internet, will strongly support the free agent phenomenon, said Brenda Wilson of William Mercer - global consultants in strategic and operational human resources.

Wilson was clear that HR must transform its 'value centre' away from cost and adopt technology as a vital tool in attracting and retaining the best in the war for talent.

Mark Dougall of Monster.co.uk confirmed that employees are more savvy, sophisticated and mobile. They have embraced the Internet and are rejecting companies who have not adopted a transparent HR strategy. By 2003 over 150 million Europeans will be using the Internet regularly. This projection, combined with the fact that the Internet can compress traditional hiring cycles from 90 to 28 days , undoubtedly confirms that the Internet is no longer the future, it's today.

Mike Brennan, online managing director for Alexander Mann - specialists in human capital management - confirmed that in today's e-recruitment market, software proliferates. Recognising the increasing demand for human capital and the recruitment value of the Internet, we have created a new offering to meet client demand that blends quality human input, proven recruitment techniques with the latest technology.î

By linking specific websites and job boards, combined with database management and support related procedures provided by our web-enabled systems, we are able to provide a bespoke 'end-to-end' offering. We believe in combining the best of technology with 'touch' as human interaction is essential in the recruitment process, said Brennan. The outsourcing of human capital management not only results in time and cost effectiveness, but allows recruiters to concentrate on strategic matters rather than being bogged down by administration.