Where have all the good people gone?

If you’ve tried recruiting a new hire lately, then chances are like singer-songwriter Sam Roberts you find yourself asking “Where have all the good people gone?” Recent figures from The National Skills Commission show that more than half of recruiting employers are finding it difficult to fill vacancies, with that number increasing to over 60 percent when hiring outside of a capital city. So why is it so difficult to fill positions right now? While the answer is not a simple one, we believe the following to be factors:

Australia’s International Borders are closed

In Australia, the industry demand for workers increases at a much higher rate than our population increases. Historically, programs like the Queensland State Migration Program worked to bring in migrant workers to help meet the industry demand. However, with the closing of the borders, QSMP and other programs like it have also closed. Without migrant workers, Australia’s labour supply just cannot grow as quickly as it needs to, resulting in skills shortages across many industries.

Unemployment rates are low

Unemployment rates are the lowest they have been in a decade, meaning there are fewer candidates seeking work. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the national unemployment rate was 4.9% in June – the lowest it has been since 2012. Closer to home, the Toowoomba Regional Council reported the lowest unemployment rate in Queensland at 4.4%.

Candidates are prioritising job security

At a time when there is already much uncertainty in life, candidates are understandably not changing jobs as readily as they did before the pandemic. The SEEK Employment Report for June 2021 showed that while job ads on their platform were at an all-time high, job applications were the lowest they have been since 2012. This is despite SEEK ANZ Managing Director, Kendra Banks, reporting that visitors to the employment marketplace website have been between 39 and 42 million per month for the last few months. Banks states, “We know candidates are being more cautious about moving jobs, as our research shows that two in three say that job security has become more important to them during the pandemic. In addition, 40% remain concerned about their job security, and 31% have held back from changing jobs”.

What does this mean for employers looking to recruit?

Employers need to recognise that it is a candidate’s market right now. There are a large number of jobs available and a small number of candidates who are actively seeking. The current landscape requires that employers be more flexible, creative, and competitive in their recruitment approach. Here are some things to consider:

Be willing to train up your workforce

Instead of holding out for a candidate with the ideal skills and experience why not take advantage of the many Government subsidies available and train up your workforce? For businesses operating within the trades listed on the National Skills Needs List, funding is available to employ apprentices and trainees or to up-skill current staff. Information on additional subsidised training and incentives is available on the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training website.

Be prepared to offer incentives

According to Commonwealth Bank’s Head of Australian Economics, Gareth Aird, “as the labour market tightens, skills shortages will manifest themselves faster than otherwise and this will allow some workers to push for higher pay”. But remember, incentives don’t always have to be monetary. According to research conducted by SEEK, work-life balance is still one of the most important considerations for most professionals; RDOs and early finishes could carry just as much weight for these people.

Expect the recruitment process to take longer

In the current market, it takes on overage 5 to 6 days to fill a permanent role – almost double the time it took prior to the onset of Covid-19. Logic dictates that it’s going to take some time to fill that open position. Know this. Expect this. Be prepared for this. And whenever possible, plan ahead.

And it’s not only permanent positions that are affected. If you’re likely to need temporary staff over the Christmas break, we’d encourage you to start thinking about this now.

How can HB Recruitment help?

• With almost 30 years’ experience, we are experts in providing both Temporary and Permanent Recruitment solutions in the Toowoomba region.
• Our Recruitment Consultants take the time to get to know your business with a view to matching the ideal candidate to the position, considering skills, qualifications, and cultural fit.
• We take the time to screen and get to know our candidates so that we can make matches based on cultural fit as well as qualifications and experience.
• We have established, professional networks that we can use to help find candidates that may not be actively seeking.
• We have just launched the #HBPeople Referral Program, allowing us to partner with our network of candidates in the search for more great candidates



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