Posted on 12/01/2023 by Caitlin Ielasi
It's 2023, and we can reflect and reset after three years of pandemic disruption. Many changes have been for the better, but they have brought up a new set of difficulties. For example, the national skills shortage affects recruitment efforts, and the pandemic has facilitated new employee expectations. As a result, organisations need help attracting and retaining talent and adapting to employee expectations.
Permanent Migration Cap Increase
To address workforce and skills shortages, the Australian government has announced that they plan to lift the migration cap within the current financial year from 160,000 to 195,000 places and on a state and territory level from 11,200 to 31,000.
According to the National Skills Commission, occupations experiencing labour shortages within Australia have nearly doubled from 2021 to 2022. Moreover, the number of advertised jobs rose by 42% in 2022 from 2021.
Significant to our recruitment areas, the report has released 4,549 vacancies within the Early Childhood Education and Care sector. In addition, with more businesses returning to the office, we are seeing a demand for office support roles such as receptionists, executive assistants, and human resources personnel. Based on vacancy reports, the following industries are struggling in particular;
Health care and social assistance.
Professional, scientific and technical services.
Education and training.
Accommodation and food services.
The National Skills Commission Recruitment Insights Report October 2022 lists a 16% yearly increase in recruitment difficulty rate sitting at 70%, which is the third-highest monthly result on record (peaking at 75% in July 2022).
The importance of attracting and retaining employees
COVID changed the way people work and their expectations. As a result, many businesses transitioned their employees to work from home. This resulted in workers experiencing the benefit of having flexibility in work/life balance and autonomy over one's schedule. However, throughout 2022 we saw businesses returning to pre-COVID operations. Now 2023, we expect more employers to operate from an office and balance their employees' flexibility demands. As mentioned in Human Resources Director Magazine (HRD), "We believe employers would be best to continue adapting to meet the needs of their employees and trying new ways of working because COVID has forever changed our approach to work, and it will never be the same again".
Call to Action for Employers
Knowing what matters to your employees will be vital to attracting and retaining talent in the current market.
Independent research carried out by Seek in 2022 has reported that work/life balance is now the number one priority for employees, with 48% explaining that it is now more important than before the pandemic. A close second is a flexibility in hours/schedule, with more employees wanting a hybrid work model. Third, workers wish for fair and equitable salary compensation and increases in line with the market rate and inflation.
So what can you do? To be an employer of choice and remain competitive, understanding the candidate market and adapting to those expectations will set your business apart.
Developing or revising your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) will make you competitive in the job market. Jaclyn Paltos from Seek defines "An EVP is everything a business does to attract and retain its employees – think pay, perks, culture, career development, benefits and rewards. It's also a way that organisations can differentiate themselves".
Next, define clearly and consistently what you are offering the prospective candidate. For example, a job advertisement, position description, daily duties and expectations should be consistent. Employee retention is likely to be more challenging if the role is inconsistent with their expectations. So, if you list flexibility, be sure to offer that.
Lastly, think quickly! Candidates aren't waiting around. There are many other offers, and candidates have more options and power in the current employee-driven market. Improving efficiency in the hiring and onboarding process will be a game changer, and looking toward diversifying the talent pool with the current visa restrictions could lead to new ways of working, such as remote working.