Within minutes of starting a conversation with Don Plato
, assistant vice president and division director for Robert Half Management Resources
in Raleigh, any business owner would either be glad his company is based in the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill) or be ready to relocate operations there immediately.
“Access to highly talented professionals is a huge benefit to companies in this market,” Don said. “University of North Carolina, Duke and North Carolina State are just a few of the schools in this area. When students graduate, they are staying because they know chances are good that they’ll land a job, especially if they’re in the accounting or technology fields.”
Since his arrival to the area from Los Angeles in 1982, Plato says the population of Raleigh-Durham has tripled and new buildings are popping up everywhere. Add that to the low cost-of-living, the moderate climate and what he calls a basically “recession-proof” economy, and the growth of the Triangle seems endless. In fact, Google recognized Durham as one of the seven key tech hubs in the United States in 2013 in large part to Research Triangle Park
, the largest research park in the country.
Even though the talent pool is large, Don explained that it can still take companies two to three months to fill a full-time role. The current unemployment rate in Raleigh-Durham is 4.5% and approaching an all-time low. With the unemployment rate in certain accounting specialties also way below the national average, employers are turning to consultants as part of their staffing strategy. “Companies can have special projects like implementing a fixed asset system where they are not ready to hire someone full-time, but they need the industry and software experience right now,” he explained. “They reach out to us and there is basically zero ramp up time with our consultants because we can find a project professional who is tailored exactly to their needs.” The volume of requests for such consultants has picked up and Don and his team want to respond with a project professional who is the perfect fit as quickly as possible. In order to make that happen, he recently added a fourth member to the team dedicated to recruiting. “For 95 percent of the projects we filled last year, we already had a candidate who met the needs of the employer’s project and could start immediately,” Don explained. “We hope to make that number 100 percent soon.”
In case you still aren’t convinced that the Triangle is the place to be for a growing business, then maybe this last tidbit will help. For the past several years, Don and his team have held free CPE seminars for their clients every other month. The events – which offer four CPE credits – have become quite popular and regularly have 250-300 attendees. Interested in attending their next one? Contact Don at [email protected]