I have never experienced a more "interesting" year (both good and bad) in my business career as this year. I will try and get some more formal comments on what i think have been the key trends this year and what i think will happen next year over next couple of weeks - hope to have a bit of time as it is definitely getting a wee bit quieter out there.
Overall - it feels like 2008 was the year that online became a core (probably "the core") element of a companies recruiting and employee engagement strategy. The level of complexity and sophistication in our client discussions has moved on more this year than the previous 2 years combined. That shows itself in spend and breadth of techniques adopted (SEM, Business networks, social networks etc) but most importantly - quantifiable tangible and documented results which show the great improvement in ROI - effective online recruitment/engagement gets companies.
Anecdotally - most of us who have been doing this a long time agree that these days you don't have to sell the concept anymore - it really is about the right product and brilliant execution. In that sense - The West has been Won.
However - when a great big hulking macro economic trend comes into play - recruitment can simply stop and no amount of cleverness and expertise can always get round that objection.
I am in the camp, however, that though fist half 2009 will be v tough - those efficient value led companies (like OME!!) will benefit hugely as the downturn lessens.