The Budapest Business Journal spoke with Tamás Fehér, the recently appointed managing director at ManpowerGroup Hungary. After working on various international projects for three years, he returned to the Hungarian market just before the COVID-19. How will it change the labor market here, and what are his plans with Manpower?
BBJ: What was your primary motivation in becoming the company’s managing director?
Tamás Fehér: During my 17 years spent in recruitment, I already had the chance to manage two top companies on the Hungarian market. However, during the last three years I was responsible for permanent recruitment business in 16 countries. I chose to continue my career at ManpowerGroup because I have always believed that industry specialization is crucial for providing high quality services. ManpowerGroup has three specialized business units: the Manpower team serves manufacturing and logistics, Experis has specialists focusing on professionals in the IT, engineering and finance sectors, while TalentSolutions provides IT contractors as an interim solution for our clients. These are supported by the robust international structures of the group. In Hungary, we are not yet fully leveraging the fantastic group capabilities. I am here to make that happen and to show the market that we are here to provide the highest quality services.
BBJ: ManpowerGroup Hungary was founded in 1990, meaning this year it celebrates its 30th anniversary. How did labor market trends change in the past three decades?
TF: Recruitment and temporary staffing were brand new services in 1990, with only a few providers on the market. The industry developed rapidly and, by the time of the 2008 financial crisis, there were about a thousand competitors. Since then, companies have turned to agencies with very special search needs that require a deep knowledge of the industry concerned as well as extensive use of active sourcing techniques. There are “hot skills” on the market like IT developers, engineers or even blue collar jobs like welders or forklift drivers. In these fields, it is always hard to find the candidate that matches all the criteria and would be satisfied with the compensation offered. The “job market” transformed into a “candidate market.” The big question in the light of the recent events is: How will the labor market change after COVID-19?
BBJ: You joined ManpowerGroup only a few weeks before COVID-19 reached Hungary. What is your prediction about the recruitment market?
TF: I only had four weeks to get familiar with the team and the business before the government declared an emergency situation. Fortunately, we are fully prepared to run our business from home office. Our clients reacted in various ways; in most cases companies wish to continue the recruitment process, but only a few hire new colleagues. Based on the reactions we received from employers, I believe that as soon as the virus starts to disappear the market will slowly get back on track. The question is: How quickly? There are industries like food production, retail or pharmaceutics that are already under pressure, while others like the automotive will most likely recover slowly. We already see many people losing their jobs and becoming available on the market. Therefore, we have started to focus on talking to potential candidates with special skills. When everything goes back to normal, we will have a large pool of people eager to take the next career step.
BBJ: How will this change ManpowerGroup’s strategy in the future?
TF: We are going to focus on further specialization and invest in our people. Our Experis brand is already a major player within the IT recruitment market, which will enable us to further grow in this field. Moreover, we are launching engineering, finance and accounting practice groups this year. Our consultants will focus on experienced professionals and managers within the three industries. Our Manpower brand will be extended with a shared service center specialization and our youngest brand, TalentSolutions, will also play a major role. While we will focus more on the IT contractor business to provide more flexibility to our clients, we are introducing our RightManagement portfolio in Hungary as well. RightManagement has a long track record in providing career transition services. This, I believe will be a hot topic for the rest of the year.