October 2021 Talent Market Update

12 October 2021 Giles Keay

Update R2

The major challenge that we are all facing at present and most likely will for the foreseeable future is identifying and attracting the right people to be able to deliver the high level of projects that are in the pipeline.  We are heavily affected by a number of impacts due to COVID in respect to mobility;

State to State Borders - Never before has Australia been so divided with hard borders reducing mobility across the country.  Even as we edge close to the magic vaccination levels and will most likely see these borders disappear, there is still a threat that they may be put in place once again in the future causing uncertainty.  Many individuals are concerned about being stranded from family and friends for work once again and I believe we will need to see a period of normality before this issue disappears.

International Borders - We have seen a decrease in net migration from approximately 250,000 per annum for the last 10 years crashing to 30,000 in 2020 and this year it will most likely have very little improvement. This lack of new qualified individuals into Australia has a dramatic impact on candidate supply bearing in mind we continually have people leaving the industry to go to other sectors or to retire. 

Hesitancy to Move Employers - There has been a lack of confidence for individuals to move jobs over the last 18 months due to uncertainty caused by the pandemic. We have continually seen candidates either completely refuse to enter a job process even though they are not happy in their current roles or go through the recruitment process only to withdraw and stay in what they feel is a more secure position. I believe we will see some major movement in 2022 as this confidence comes back. 

Increasing Salaries/Counter Offers - This is one of the most frustrating aspects of the recruitment sector at the moment for clients, due to the factors mentioned above and the lack of good people in the market, employers do not wish to lose staff and are providing high counter offers to keep people. This is often on the back of original offers already being made at levels that are way above current levels.  Our concern is the long term impact on margins are most likely not sustainable. 

With this in mind we would advise our clients to consider a number of aspects;


Retention- Firstly, above all, before thinking about hiring new employees for the business, in most situations you are far better to be focused on retaining your existing people. Ensure that you have an effective career/development planning/review process in place and that you have regular catch up's to listen to how they are feeling. This enables you to try to meet their needs and understand if they are unhappy before they decide to look elsewhere. As an employer this is YOUR responsibility NOT your employees.  Undertake regular salary research to ensure that you are at market level and always remember work is not just about the salary, you need to make sure you are offering a full supportive environment and package.

Know your USP - As an employer looking to attract new employees to the business you need to make sure you know exactly why someone would wish to join your business and not your competitors. Remember they don't know you, you need to be clear and concise around the benefits that they, as an individual would gain from becoming part of the team. 

Speed during the Recruitment Process - We have seen a number of businesses recently miss out on good quality candidates due to a lack of speed and urgency in the process. The market is too tight with too little options not to move quickly if you meet someone who would be suitable.  If you have done the hard work to get them in front of you, firstly ensure they match with your company values and sell like crazy...... then make your decisions efficiently and swiftly and take action.

 We hope that this market update has provided you with some insight into the challenges currently being faced in the market right now and that the advice helps you to navigate what will continue to be one of the tightest labour markets we have seen for some time.