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Recruitment firms tell job hunters 'be flexible'

Recruitment firms are urging those affected by widespread redundancies in the retail sector to be ‘flexible’ in order to ride out the downturn, but have insisted that demand for international, online and temporary roles is still buoyant.

Elizabeth McNabb, divisional manager at Four Seasons Recruitment, said she had seen an increase in demand from her clients for temporary roles. “Candidates need to be flexible and make compromises,” she said.

“But they must also play to their strengths. It’s not necessarily the time to try something new.”

Retailers that have recently cut jobs include Marks & Spencer, Woolworths and home-shopping firm Otto UK. However, value chain Peacocks and supermarket Tesco plan to create jobs this year.

Paul Christian Bassett, owner of recruitment firm Christian Bassett, said he had seen a slowdown in demand from employers in England and France, but that business was booming in the Middle East and Far East. “Candidates should not rule out working abroad because the lifestyle in Dubai and Hong Kong, for example, is very good. And with brands conscious about unifying their businesses globally, the move doesn’t have to be forever,” Bassett said.

Vanessa Green, managing director of CVUK, added: “We’re busy with international and online roles. But candidates need to be flexible as clients are reluctant to give us salary brackets now – they have a limit. Get onto social networking websites too, such as LinkedIn.”

Mathew Dixon, director of Hudson Walker, said his business had a record year last year. “There are lots of opportunities for interim positions,” he said.

Fran Minogue, managing partner at Heidrick & Struggles, added: “If you need to replace a chief executive or buying and merchandising director, you have to do it. Businesses need even better people in a recession.”

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