Even as the ink was drying on my article last week on recruitment trends for 2002–3, further change was underway.Former DeWinter International general manager David Palmer is putting the finishing touches to a boutique IT recruitment consultancy, Alliance IT Recruitment, while Club IT, which will offer discounted products and recruitment to IT workers, is likewise readying for launch.Palmer is a fresh-faced 33-year-old who has been in recruitment for only three years. But he also boasts several years’ IT experience developing accounting software and is qualified in marketing. While fellow recruiter Ross Turner has warned of the “bravery” needed by anyone starting out now in IT recruitment, Palmer says such attitudes mean today’s depressed times are right to launch such a venture. He believes there are still a lot of opportunities in recruitment, which must be true — Palmer managed to live on his savings for six months since leaving De Winter.Palmer starts Alliance, due for launch this week, as a one-man operation, saying his strength will be working closely with candidates and clients or suppliers. He says he sees recruiting functions as involving an alliance between the various parties, which gave him the name.“The market has fundamentally changed,” Palmer says. “A lot of people have said good times will return but I don’t believe they will. The people who build the big call centre type of recruiters will struggle in the future. Recruitment will be based on clients, recruiters and candidates working together.” The IT recruitment market will grow again over time, he says. “Two years ago it was driven by Y2K, dot-coms, changes in government legislation like ACC, telecomms, ERP rollouts. None of these things exist any more. There is a new concept called sound business. These are trends in IT that means IT will slowly grow back and sound business does involve IT,” he says.Palmer says his boutique operation will view each recruitment vacancy as a “mini project”. To help him, Palmer has produced his own software and thinks his marketing skills will also be a factor in his hoped-for success. He aims to carve a niche in a recruitment area sometimes called “unbundled services” — the “difference” all recruiters are trying to find. It will involve working with clients on managing recruitment campaigns if they wish, placing adverts or letting the firms shortlist applicants for interview themselves.Club IT, meanwhile, is preparing to launch on January 31. The free “club”, incorporated in November, will be headed by managing director Alan Brown, who has 12 years’ experience in sales within the IT and telecomms industries. The company website is already promoting an offer with Telecom on CDMA mobile phones and negotiations with training organisations and other businesses are underway, Brown says. Advertising from these deals will fund the club, which apparently already has members, who joined as the year’s research behind it was carried out, he says.From March the website will feature “real, live companies advertising jobs, not the agencies”, Brown says.