Spotlight On: Brenda Arce, Vice President & Branch Director, Robert Half

Spotlight On: Brenda Arce, Vice President & Branch Director, Robert Half

2023-01-09T13:41:59-05:00January 9th, 2023|HR, Miami, Professional Services, Spotlight On|

2 min read January 2023 In an interview with Invest:, Brenda Arce, vice president and branch director of the Miami office at talent solutions and business consulting firm Robert Half, shared that employers are looking for candidates with digital fluency, the value of contract work and its possible transformation into permanent employment. Despite the expected downturn, she believes the job market is still resilient.

Where is the labor market right now in Miami and where do you see it going? 

I handle the recruitment for Miami, so I understand that it is an interesting time in the market. Robert Half has over 300 offices around the world, and we are in contact with a lot of hiring managers. In Miami specifically, there is a lot of talent, and the job market is extremely competitive. This is a time of great transition going within each business. As a result, the candidates are taking advantage of the marketplace because there are so many companies hiring. Similarly, there are two ends of the spectrum in terms of hiring: while some companies are taking a more conservative approach, others are hiring at full throttle. It is not easy to bring in talent right now because the candidates are looking for a combination of salary, perks and benefits, and they want more stability as well. So, there is a lot of movement going on. 

How has the demand for your services shifted and what is the landscape right now?

There is more demand for contract work but oftentimes this turns into full-time employment. I have been working at Robert Half for 16 years and have seen a couple of different markets, so I do notice a greater shift towards hiring employees on a contract basis. This is more of an intermittent solution where the client is taking time to find the ideal fit, but still needs work completed in the meantime. Businesses reach out to us to provide them with that contract employee who can step in right away and help them until they find someone else. However, at times, the contract employee turns out to be the right fit and is hired on a permanent basis because no one wants to let go of a talented employee.

Our Miami office is in Brickell — right in the middle of the financial industry — so we see growth in finance, as well as hospitality, nonprofits and also healthcare from an administrative and accounting perspective. Robert Half specializes in administrative, customer service, accounting, technology, creative and legal support to address the specific needs of our clients. 

How does employee housing look in Miami and is there an impact on remote jobs due to housing issues?

Housing has been a big topic of conversation. There are so many companies that open in Miami because of the opportunities here. Also, 75% of the individuals speak Spanish here, so it is great for companies to have offices in Miami especially if they have Latin American operations. Still, it is an expensive city. In our last cost of living estimate, living in Miami on average costs 10% more than comparable cities, so it is a challenge to match salaries to the cost of living. That being said, while Miami is one of those large cities, the cost of living here is still lower than San Francisco or New York, which is why I think recruitment from Miami is a good idea.

At Robert Half, we work together with our manager to decide what works better for each team within each office. Therefore, we have newer employees who might work on a hybrid model, and we also offer flexibility to parents who may have childcare needs. Recently, we were named as a top workplace for women and parents because we offer stability and flexibility through discussion and cooperation rather than having a one-size-fits-all work model  for everyone. Employees appreciate this flexibility, and it allows us to adapt to our circumstances as well. 

How do you see the gig economy shaping up, especially in relation to the demand for flexibility? 

There will always be a desire for security from both the employer and employee, and this is why employers want to hire directly from the start. At the same time, you also have a large percentage of people who prefer to do contract work because they want to familiarize themselves with a company before committing to them, or they just really enjoy doing short-term assignments to get some money in their pockets while they look for another contract project. A lot of times companies believe that if someone is hired on a contract basis, it means they are less skilled. That’s not true at all because contract employees enjoy working with different companies and acquiring different skill sets. 

Is there a shift in the credentials of candidates that the companies are looking for?

Employers are being much more flexible as they are looking at the experience of candidates. Now, companies are definitely shifting more where even an entry-level candidate is earning pretty decently because they are meeting the desired skill set for an open role. Companies are now more interested in the potential of the candidates as opposed to just looking at their years of experience. As such, we do see a lot of recent college graduates just coming in and being placed in positions where they would not be placed before. Moreover, companies are also investing in retaining talent by offering pay raises. About 51% of the companies that filled out our survey are thinking of reevaluating when to increase pay and year-end bonus going into 2023. If the company does not have monetary support, then they are looking toward maybe giving more days off or other perks. 

Are there any skills that employers are looking for more than before?

Digital fluency is very important as employees must be able to learn software skills quickly. I would say that the No. 1 request that we receive is for people familiar with Excel, even in an entry-level administrative position. A lot of reports are run in Excel nowadays, but companies want someone who is more computer savvy and adaptable to learn their own software as well. There are a lot of companies that use their own software, so the new recruits have to understand that they need to commit to the company’s timeframe. At Robert Half, we offer free training alongside asking people to invest more from their own end as well. 

Going into 2023, how is Robert Half preparing to address the shifting needs of the companies?

We all hear the rumors about the layoffs and the hiring freezes, but I think that the job market is still resilient and optimistic. With Robert Half, I have seen that we are very quick to adapt to what is going on in the marketplace and shift our work based on that. So, when we see an environment where there are a lot of layoffs then we tend to assume that the company can only hire people on contract basis for specific projects or on a specific timeline. This means they do not have to bear the cost of bringing someone on as a permanent employee until things are a bit more stable. 

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