Dear Friends, dear Clients, dear Partners,

A new year, 2024, is opening to us, and I would like to thank you for supporting our development by entrusting us with your recruitment, your applications, or by seeking our advice.

The year 2023 was a transitional period for ALHAMBRA INTERNATIONAL, confirming its international positioning with well-directed recruitments in Europe and expanding its activities in the Asia-Pacific region. The economic context remains positive for large corporations, which have generally gone through various crises in recent years. However, the reality is different for SMEs, which suffer more from these crises and which often cannot pass on cost increases (energy, raw materials, salaries) to their pricing policies, affecting their competitiveness. Startups also face challenges, with a decline of over 30% in total fundraising and a shift towards disruptive technologies in industries such as Quantum Computing, Energy, Biotech, and Artificial Intelligence. This evolution requires raising more capital, completed by loans from national or European public investment banks.

Labour markets are resilient in Europe and around the world, with full employment situations that are reassuring for the global economy. France is experiencing a more contrasting situation, with still challenges in achieving full employment; the unemployment rate is around 7%, which is honorable, but the 5% target will be difficult to reach, with higher social charges than in other European countries, particularly for the seniors, who also have a lower activity rate. A reduction of social charges and a policy of chosen time would allow companies to maintain the employment of seniors; a reinforcement of policies of Professional Training or Life Long Learning Education on these populations would be an advantage to address the challenges posed by the advent of generative artificial intelligence and new hybrid work management methods. The arrival of generative Artificial Intelligence could change 25% of the tasks performed by executives according to a study by Goldmann Sachs, new management methods resulting from hybrid work must also be taken into account and require adaptations and training.

Among the positive news is the slowdown in inflation, raising hopes for an easing of interest rates, starting in the United States before being followed by the European Central Bank, likely to reignite growth, though not until late 2024 or early 2025.

Globally, the United States continues to have a robust growth, around 5% annually in the third quarter of 2023, with full employment. The impact of the Inflation Reduction Act is real, leading to significant investments in manufacturing activity although this policy is costly and results in substantial public deficits. India is emerging as the new engine of the global economy, with strong growth expected in the coming years, driven by a growing middle class. ALHAMBRA INTERNATIONAL, already present in India through partnerships, plans to strengthen its presence to support the growth of international companies. China remains resilient, but challenges persist, including high youth unemployment and the collapse of real estate corporations like Evergrande due to massive debt. Despite international reluctance for major investments, China remains a key player, especially in critical raw materials for the new economic world, such as semiconductors, electric batteries, and electronic devices.

In 2023, we also kept you informed about economic developments and their impact on employment and Human Resources:

  • In today’s interconnected world, expanding your business internationally can open up vast opportunities for growth and success. We explored the main considerations and strategies for efficient international recruitment when your company is expanding globally.
  • During our “learning expeditions” in Silicon Valley, we anticipated that Artificial Intelligence would be at the heart of major economic transformations, with San Francisco becoming its world capital. We hope that EU unicorns, like Mistral in France and Aleph Alpha in Germany, will be able to counterbalance this dominance originating once again from the Silicon Valley. It is essential to support EU players in order not to miss out on this new revolution that is AI.
  • Within the framework of our Asia-Pacific activity, we provided some advice on how to approach the Chinese market, emphasizing its complexity and the need for a long-term perspective, sometimes absent in Western companies’ considerations. The presence of one or more Chinese consultants, as is the case at ALHAMBRA INTERNATIONAL, proves useful for selecting excellent collaborators with a dual EU and Chinese culture.
  • Our latest article focused on major challenges facing the EU economy, specifically competitiveness and the single market, with the hope that reports from Mario DRAGHI, Former ECB Chairman and Prime Minister of Italy and from Enrico LETTA also a former Italian Prime Minister play a crucial role in defining the future priorities of the EU, especially with a new European Commission in 2025. We emphasize that the EU has moved away from naivety in recent years and understands the importance of a proactive policy in terms of reindustrialization and innovation, and that we actively participate by accompanying key players of this reindustrialization.

As you can see, where vigilance has sometimes been advocated in recent years, regarding structural issues such as climate change, technological revolutions and changes in work practices, it is necessary today to accelerate investments, promote a strong innovation policy and new management methods to meet the demands of this new economic growth.

At a time when some of our HR experts tell us that artificial intelligence will profoundly change recruitment methods, which is justified on certain tasks of drafting job offers, screening and pre-selecting candidates, nothing replaces the evaluation of candidates by recruitment experts, completed by our clients, the Employers. There is also no substitute for supporting candidates until the signing phase of their contracts where sometimes legal, financial or even family considerations must be taken into account with the highest level of confidentiality. This is the meaning of our commitment and we will continue it by developing the international dimension of our missions.

In 2024, as in previous years, Alhambra International will focus on companies that take care of their employees and adopt practices with a positive social and environmental impact to ensure effective governance for their shareholders.

On behalf of the entire Alhambra International team, I wish you a very happy 2024, filled with happiness, awareness, and respect for the values we share together!

Anne-Charlotte Vaillant – Founder & Leader

Pierre Maurin – Senior Partner