As of December 2021, the Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force figures showed that South Australia experienced its lowest rate of unemployment since 1978, dropping to an unemployment rate of 3.9%.
The main factors that are contributing to the tight labour market are: high levels of absenteeism due to the infection rate in South Australia of the Omnicom variant of Covid-19, new roles being created due to the pandemic, many organisations experiencing high growth and demand for their services, almost zero international migration of labour
So what does this mean for South Australian-based businesses that are hiring?
In short, it is a challenging market, so employers will need to plan, be flexible and act quickly.
Here are some useful tips for business owners, leaders, and human resource professionals to maximise the chances of securing the talent needed now, and into the future.
- Plan when to hire before it’s needed. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can find a permanent employee in a couple of weeks. Most good candidates will need to give at least a month’s notice when they resign, with some executives needing to give three months or more. Be prepared that it will take time to run a quality process.
- Be flexible. Ask yourself what flexibility you are willing to give:
- Are looking for the perfect candidate or are you willing to be flexible so that you get someone into the role?
- Do you need someone full-time?
- Are you willing to let them work from home?
- Can you train them on some of the technical skills required?
- Do they need the sector experience?
- Would you consider a less experienced candidate who can develop into the role?
- Have you considered looking at a more experienced candidate who is happy to take a step down?
- Are you willing to look at someone who has recently retired and buddy them up with someone internally, so they can pass on their experience?
- Be clear on what is needed from the role now and into the future. Giving the candidates clarity on what is expected of them in the role as part of the recruitment process is critical to getting a candidate to accept an offer. Changes made throughout the application process will detract candidates from your role and organisation.
- Be prepared to act quickly (but be thorough in your recruitment process). If a good quality candidate applies early in the process, interview them as soon as possible. If they meet the criteria and the selection process is complete, then offer them the role. Now is not the time to wait for the potential of finding someone better at the risk of losing a fantastic candidate = good talent gets snapped up quickly.
- Communicate. Make sure to communicate as much as possible with candidates throughout the process. Leaving a candidate waiting for an update can risk the candidate taking another role altogether.
- Have the conversation about salary and benefits early in the process. Australia is experiencing significant salary increases in some markets where there are talent shortages. Like it or not, you may just have to pay more to get the candidate that you want. In order to avoid any of your employees seeking higher salaries elsewhere, this may also result in you having to offer a larger increase to current staff members.
- Expect the counter offer. The candidate will likely be offered more money to stay with their current employer. It is cheaper for their current employer to offer a higher salary than to bear the financial cost and productivity loss involved with replacing them.
- Don’t lose sight of business values. Your business’ values, vision and expected behaviours are what make your organisation a great place to work. Keep emphasising these throughout the recruitment process.
- Hire candidates with a great attitude. Don’t forget that training can always be done for technical skills, but not for culture fit. A candidate with a positive, productive attitude that requires technical training will eventually outperform and outlast the candidate with strong technical skills but a poor attitude. The short-term pain will be worth the long-term gains.
- Think differently. What worked in the last five years may not work now. Be prepared to relook at your recruitment process and offering with fresh eyes, or seek out an external recruitment expert to help you.
This year will throw up a whole range of different challenges that we have not seen before so taking a proactive approach to your hiring will be critical in 2022.