Recruiting in a Tightening Market

Australia’s labour market continues to tighten as employment rates soar. According to the recent Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report, employment rose by 19,800 in September 2017, surpassing forecasts that had estimated a rise of 15,000.

This increase has resulted in the highest employment rate on record, it now sits at 12, 290, 200.

This is great news for Australians, of course, but companies need to take this trend – and how it impacts their recruiting – seriously. Recruiting in a tight labour market means it becomes harder to find employees as talent pools dwindle. This restricted market can also push wages up.

Therefore, recruiting in the current market needs to be proactive rather than reactive. Businesses must stay ahead of the curve, snapping up in-demand candidates before they get an offer elsewhere.

These aggressively futuristic methods have already been adopted by global heavyweights like Facebook, Google and Apple, with smaller tech companies following suit. It seems the adage ‘you’ve got to spend money to make money’ applies here. Big bucks are spent on poaching the best candidates at the outset and although, it may take a few years for the company to see a return on the initial investment, it does pay off – big time.

Take for instance Apple. Back in 2010, they secured phone engineers who specialised in something called ‘near field communication’ – this became the backbone of their highly popular Apple Pay technology. They hired, and started initial work on this product a full four years before it was released. And these tactics are not just used by the ‘big guns’, they are trickling down into smaller companies around the world.

In a piece by LinkedIn’s Global Account Manager and talent acquisition expert, Theodore Chestnut, this recruitment practice is likened to investing in oil fields. He says, “Great companies think about investing in people the same way Exxon thinks about investing in oil fields: they lock them in years before fully tapping their enormous potential.”

He goes on to talk about the importance of Talent as a competitive advantage – a concept that is gaining more and more traction with CEOs and executives, worldwide. But what does this mean in real terms?

Smarter poaching and a hiring policy that looks to the future instead of the here and now.

A unique, playful and now iconic example of this approach is Snapchat’s 2015 recruitment drive. They used their own app to target employees of their San-Franciscan neighbours Uber and Pinterest, enticing them to join their ranks. Employing a special filter that appeared only to those using the image sharing app at the Uber and Pinterest headquarters, Snapchat was able to reach potential employees in a fun and clever way.

With increases in employment forecast for the next five years, Australia’s labour market is set to become tighter and tighter. In order to keep up, Australian companies must be willing to invest in talent sooner rather than later, taking cues from their global counterparts or risk getting left behind.



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