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Labour Shortage Australia: How Recruiters Can Modify Their Approach

over 2 years ago by
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Is there a labour shortage in Australia? Many leading employers seem to think so. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one quarter of Australian businesses are struggling to find staff to fill job vacancies. When asked what factors contributed to the difficulty in finding suitable staff, 74% said lack of job applicants. A further two thirds, 66%, said applicants lacked the skills and qualifications to fill the vacancies and almost one third, 32%, said that international border closures had made it difficult to fill vacancies. 

So how can businesses continue to attract staff during this labour shortage in Australia? With no indication when borders will open up, it may be some time till we can rely on immigration to fill our labour shortfall. So employers who take the initiative and review their recruitment processes now will be better able to position themselves during this candidate shortfall. 

Reduce your time-to-hire process 

When candidates are in short supply, you need to snap up quality applicants. As much as possible, reduce your time-to-hire process. Your goal should be to establish an efficient system that doesn’t hurry decisions, yet is still agile and speedy. Quality candidates are likely to have several applications in process. So you don’t want to get left behind if other organisations snap them up with better offers while you’re still scheduling third-round interviews. 

This reduction also helps employer efficiency and productivity, as there’s less impact on daily operations as teams are pulled in for job interviews for weeks on end. 

You can do this by: 

  • reducing the steps in the interview process 

  • reducing the number of decision makers 

  • use expert interviewers who have the skills to quickly identify the candidates who best fit the job criteria 

  • improving the selection of long-list candidates, thus preventing chances of undesirable applicants making it through the selection process 

  • being clear about the criteria at the onset, so you can easily filter candidates according to the skillsets you require 

  • outsourcing your hiring to recruitment agencies, who have refined and efficient hiring processes, often faster than internal hire processes 

Make your job advert as appealing as possible 

Consider the position advertisement a sales page — because it is! Giving applicants an accurate yet positive depiction of what it’s like to work at your company ensures you find people who’d likely be the right fit. Don’t overpromise, of course. But consider the many benefits to working for your company. Remember, when other employers are hiring, they are offering the same packages, benefits and job description. In this case, when many elements are comparable, it's the team culture and workplace vibe that often makes the difference to candidates. So make sure your values shine through in your organisation. 

Taking a sales approach to job advertisements means that instead of focusing on you and your company culture you flip the narrative and drive messages about understanding the candidate and what they’re looking for. Using persuasive language (perhaps via a copywriter) can evoke a feeling of excitement and interest in potential candidates. Avoiding cliches that many other employers often turn to can help you stand out. The headline should be captivating and compelling, which encourages readers to continue reading to see if the job is right for them. And as much as possible, reveal the salary expectations for the role. This transparency increases trust in you as an employer. 

Seek candidates who aren’t actively looking 

Unfortunately, in a labour shortage like the one Australia is currently facing, simply advertising and waiting for quality applications to roll in is often not enough to secure quality candidates. There may be potential recruits who aren’t seeking a new role and scouring the job listings who might be your best candidate — so how do you reach them? 

It makes sense to build a network of potential employees long before you’re listing the vacancy.

This could be using a LinkedIn company page to build followers, or keeping a database of potential candidates that have come into your orbit, so you can contact them when vacancies arise. Asking your internal team to recommend candidates is highly valuable as well. 

This is where it helps to use a recruitment agency, because they have a broad network of connections, often across industries. These connections include former hires they’ve placed elsewhere or candidates who are currently seeking work. Using a recruitment agency helps you tap into that pool of talent to find your next superstar. 

Be flexible with the hiring process 

Keeping a rigid hiring procedure may be harmful when you are competing with other employers to find the right candidates. So it’s important to be flexible in your approach. Long interviews, extensive personality profiling and stressful questions may be off-putting for potential candidates. It may present a company culture that isn’t reflective of your true values and workplace. Plus, if another employer is able to make a quick decision and put an offer on the table, the candidate may withdraw their application and take what they’re offered elsewhere.

Consider what benefits you can offer candidates beyond salary that may make you more competitive. This could include a generous training and development budget, mental health support, flexible working hours, days off in lieu of overtime or other benefits. 

Make corporate social responsibility part of your culture 

Most employees want to feel like they are making a difference when they’re going to work. A company that has a generous giving program may be more attractive to potential candidates, especially the younger generation who aspire to be part of the change they want to see in the world. 

An employer that embraces corporate giving and supports charity and community programs is appealing to employees. Choosing a program that reflects your values and brand can be a great way to build trust and likability among potential candidates. Types of support can include

  • financial donations 

  • charity drives - collecting food, household and baby goods for charities and shelters 

  • match dollar-for-dollar what your team members raise 

  • offering grants for local community groups like sports teams or kindergartens 

  • days off to volunteer 

  • supporting and participating in fundraising events like The CEO Sleepout, Earth Hour, Daffodil Day or Jeans for Genes (or countless others)

The spirit of giving is a lovely way for employers to give back to the local community and build goodwill amongst current and future employees at the same time. 

Promote from within as much as possible 

When you have a strong culture of promoting from within, you aren’t as beholden to the ups and downs of the labour market in Australia. This means you can focus your recruitment efforts at the entry-level positions. In turn, this makes you an appealing employer brand because your potential candidates will love the idea of the chance to grow their career and get promoted. 

The benefits of using a recruiter 

In a candidate shortage, recruitment agencies offer numerous advantages, including: 

  • a strong network of potential candidates at their fingertips

  • experience in finding and hiring staff that fit your criteria — reducing your chances of hiring someone unsuitable

  • efficient recruitment processes that save you time and help you get in quickly with an attractive offer which is vital in a competitive job market 

  • expert advice on appealing to potential candidates, and insight on what candidates expect from employers in terms of salary, conditions and benefits 

With extensive experience in staffing for the supply chain and logistics industries, our friendly team is ready to help you find the next right candidate, so speak to us today to get started.