Cyber Security: Business without tears

May 2017 – WannaCry. June 2017 – Petya.  Unless you’ve been living halfway up the Amazon or in the highlands of Papua New Guinea for the last couple of months you’re sure to have seen or heard these words many times recently. WannaCryPetya. Yes, we’ve all heard of them and we’re pretty sure what we heard wasn’t good, but how much do we really know about them? More to the point, how much should we make it our business to learn about them?

Recruitment Yarns 2017 wrap


Following on from the success of Recruitment Yarns in 2016, Recruitment Yarns kicked off its 2017 series in Sydney in May and culminated at its last event in Melbourne in mid-June.

With over 600 attendees that included business owners and senior leaders from all sectors of the Recruitment Industry, RY was clearly popular and provided those who attended rare insights into a variety of relevant topics affecting the Australian and New Zealand market place.

Service Excellence Consulting’s Research and Marketing Associate Erica Waller caught up with the founder, Col Levander, to get his take on the tour and the state of play in the Industry.

Erica: How are you feeling after the RY whirlwind tour, Col?

Col: I feel like a rock star at the end of a world tour - both exhausted and elated! We held 10 events in metropolitan and regional cities as well as Christchurch and Auckland. We met some amazing people - some incredible movers and shakers!

Erica: How did you find the markets both in Australia and New Zealand and how is the sentiment generally?

Col: I think business is tough for the industry. The War for Talent and the talent leakage we are seeing from our new millennials is not to be ignored. A number of recruiters I spoke to were really struggling in the Graduate space for example. Some were saying that their intake quotas provided by clients were really difficult to fill, so that is a worrying fact for us all.

There are considerable governmental changes happening as we speak, and recruiters will definitely need to be across the proposed legislative changes as these will have a significant effect on our industry.

Probably one of the biggest concerns, from my perspective anyway, is that the industry is under attack on a technology front. I see it every day in what we do at Rec Tech Solutions. The effect of disruptive technology is certainly making life interesting for our industry. Many business owners don’t get the opportunities they would like to enable them to stay across these issues, and that's where Recruitment Yarns can be so valuable! My warning to the Industry is: Don’t let us become the Taxi Industry. The Taxi industry globally ignored technology for near on 2 decades and look at them now! More recently, the Real estate industry is being disrupted with the emergence of Purplebricks. Closer to home, the rise of the Gig economy is alive and well and it will have a significant effect on our industry.

In New Zealand, the market was a lot more optimistic, perhaps in part from effects of the Christchurch rebuild and infrastructure spend, as well as the emergence of innovation hubs. They too are exposed to the changes I mentioned, as well as having their own challenges with sourcing and retaining talent and legislative changes, but generally they are more positive than our fellow Australians.

Erica: What were your key take-aways from the Yarns tour?

Col: There are too many to tell you if I’m honest, but I guess the high points were:

  1. The Industry is keen for collaboration. The interest in un-conference style informal discussions, and the willingness of those to engage, made the event a stand-out success.
  2. Those who attended are those who will thrive and stay abreast of changes and will be successful in the long -term. They will be the doctors of recruitment and will keep the industry fresh and relevant.
  3. The focus on mental toughness and mental health in the industry by business leaders was a common subject for discussion. The industry is very aware of these challenges and the impact on staff retention and business pressures. We touched on this with one of our Masterclasses and will add more depth at next years’ Yarns events.
  4. New Zealand Yarns was a great thrill for me given it was our first visit there. The New Zealand Yarnsters were engaged, the conversations were intellectual and the talk was about new concepts.
  5. Albury/Wodonga - Even though I love the bush, we didn't expect a large turnout. But on the day we had 22 people on a cold (minus one degrees) and misty morning. Some had driven for 2- 3 hours to get there. What a great effort!

Erica: Recruitment Yarns was again a FREE event this year thanks to your generous sponsors. Do you see that continuing?

Col: Yes, the event relies heavily on sponsors, and many thanks to them all. Feedback has been extremely positive, so we would like to do another event in 2018. We are always looking at ways to improve, and one of the options is to consider introducing a ticket price so we can continue to provide high value presenters and venues. Having said that though, we will always be not-for-profit. We are considering Hobart, Canberra and Newcastle, as well as back to New Zealand again. The plan is to advise the dates and cities by January, so there will be plenty of time to lock the dates in your diaries.

Erica: In closing, how would you summarise Recruitment Yarns 2017?

Col: My view is that the people who have attended Recruitment Yarns are streets ahead of those that didn’t! There is no other event that provides so many take-aways in such a short timeframe, and for such a small outlay of time and cost. The spirit of collaboration is alive and well in our industry and I thank everyone involved in the event including my staff, our sponsors, hosts and of course the participants for making yarns what it is. I’m very grateful for the experience and very much looking forward to 2018.

Erica: Thanks, Col.

Our Managing Director Dianne Gibert attended all sessions of Recruitment Yarns, explaining the important concept of risk management, and answering questions about certification. She also presented Masterclass sessions on safety management.