The Top 10 Challenges if You

The Top 10 Challenges if You're Recruiting in Australia Right Now

It’s quite the job market we find ourselves in at the moment. In the last two years anyone who has tried to recruit new staff will know that we have a huge talent shortage challenge here in Australia.

At the same time much of the workforce is transitioning to remote or hybrid work, and issues such as diversity and inclusion are coming more and more to the fore.

These are just some of the many factors that are affecting the way recruiters find and attract candidates. Let’s look at 10 of the top issues you’re going to be dealing with if you’re looking to recruit in Australia right now.

1. Talent Shortages

Obviously, the biggest challenge is the shortage of skilled workers. Many industries just don’t have enough qualified candidates to fill open positions. This is particularly evident in high-demand sectors such as healthcare, technology, and engineering. The sectors with the highest vacancies, however, are admin (including call centres), hospitality, retail, and utilities.

The answer, of course, is to be much more proactive in sourcing candidates. This could mean partnering with educational institutions, attending job fairs and networking events, and developing referral programs to encourage existing employees to refer qualified candidates. You can also work with a recruitment partner which already has thousands of qualified candidates on its books.

2. Remote Work and Virtual Hiring

The rise of remote work and virtual hiring has created new challenges too. Hiring managers are having to adapt to new technologies and processes to effectively recruit and onboard candidates who could be located anywhere in Australia or even in another part of the world.

Remember that, even though the tech and processes are new, the game remains the same: you need to create a positive candidate experience throughout the hiring process. Think about how you can creatively use the new tools you have available, including online assessment software, automated screening, one-way and two-way video, e-documents to speed up onboarding, and online training tools to give new hires the best start. The faster and more convenient you can make the process for candidates, the more successful you will be.

3. Diversity and Inclusion

Companies that make diversity and inclusion a priority in their hiring practices are more likely to attract top talent and create a positive workplace culture. Study after study demonstrates the benefit of a well-implemented diversity and equity policy. However, many companies are still struggling to put in place effective strategies and overcome unconscious biases.

Training and education for hiring managers and interviewers on diversity and inclusion best practices is a good place to start. Additionally, recruiters should make use of multiple job boards and partner with a range of professional organisations to source a more diverse pool of candidates. You can also take advantage of new remote hiring and screening tech to further eliminate bias in the hiring process.

4. Employer Branding

Talent acquisition professionals have always needed strong sales and marketing skills to sell their roles to candidates. In today’s tight job market that needs to be taken to the next level. With the rise of social media and review sites like Glassdoor, companies need to proactively manage their employer brand to ensure they are attracting the right candidates and retaining existing employees.

If you have a sales and marketing team, work closely with them to develop an employer branding strategy. This should be for existing employees as well as potential future ones. This may involve highlighting the company's culture, values, and benefits, as well as showcasing employee success stories. Testimonials and referrals from existing employees are by far the most effective methods of sourcing strong candidates. Entering employer awards can also boost your profile and position you as an employer of choice – particularly if you win!

5. Candidate Experience

Whether you’re hiring remotely or virtually, or for hybrid roles, the candidate experience is still the strongest indicator of how many job offers you need to make to get a candidate to say yes, and how long they will stay with you once hired. Candidates expect their interactions with your organisation to be positive and efficient, from application through to onboarding. A poor candidate experience can result in negative reviews and a damaged employer brand.

How can you improve the candidate experience? Start by streamlining the whole process. Do you really need three interviews and an assessment centre? Of course you need to screen candidates and check they are capable of doing the job, but asking them to take a couple of half days off their current employer for you to do that isn’t going to fly any more. Improving the candidate experience could even be as simple as giving regular feedback and keeping applicants up to date with their application process - something far too few employers do.

6. Wage Pressure

You don’t need to be an economics whizz to know that, in a tight job market with low unemployment, wages are going to go up. Living costs are going crazy so you can’t exactly blame employees for demanding more. This can make it challenging for recruiters to attract and retain top talent within budget.

To remain competitive, check out what your competition are offering and see if you can match it or even go a little higher. Your competition includes all organisations offering similar roles to you, or who will compete for the same people – so don’t just focus on your own industry sector. You can also take the spotlight off salaries by highlighting the opportunities you offer for career growth and development.

7. Skills Gap

Even though there are, theoretically, enough people looking for work today to just about fill all the jobs available, we know that can never happen. That’s because of the skills gap. For whatever reason, there is a mismatch between the roles employers have available and the skills of the available candidates. This is a growing problem in Australia and one not just caused by the current tight job market.

Know your market. Work with educational institutions and professional associations in your industry to develop training programs and upskill your existing employees. Additionally, recruiters should partner with industry experts to gain a better understanding of emerging trends and skill requirements.

8. Candidate Screening

As recruitment technology evolves, so too do the tools and techniques for candidate screening. Recruitment professionals must stay up-to-date with the latest developments to ensure they are effectively identifying the best candidates.

Invest in the latest recruitment technology and work with data analysts to develop effective screening algorithms. Additionally, recruiters should prioritise candidate experience and ensure the screening process is transparent and fair.

9. Talent Retention

Once top talent is hired, you have to focus on retaining those people in this competitive market. This requires creating a positive workplace culture and providing opportunities for growth and development. However, many companies struggle to retain top talent due to inadequate compensation and benefits, lack of career advancement opportunities, and poor management.

Recruiters should work closely with HR and management teams to develop retention strategies. This may involve developing mentorship and training programs, providing competitive compensation and benefits, and ensuring a positive workplace culture.

10. Adapting to Changing Labour Law

In 2023 Australia’s labour laws and workplace regulations are undergoing one of their biggest upheavals in decades. These include multi-employer bargaining and updates to the Fair Work Act on fixed-term and minimum-term contracts. Understanding and complying with the latest legislation is crucial for attracting and retaining top talent while maintaining a positive employer brand.

Actively monitor updates in labour law legislation and collaborate with legal or HR experts to ensure your recruitment processes remain compliant. Additionally, you can participate in industry forums or attend workshops to stay abreast of the latest trends and best practices. By demonstrating a commitment to ethical and compliant recruitment practices, you can create a strong employer brand that appeals to top talent and fosters a supportive and fair work environment.

Final thoughts

Recruitment and talent acquisition professionals in Australia face numerous challenges in the current job market. From talent shortages and remote work to diversity and inclusion and talent retention, these challenges require a proactive and strategic approach to overcome. By staying up-to-date with emerging trends and developing effective strategies, recruitment professionals can successfully navigate these challenges and attract and retain top talent.

And of course, if we can help at all or you’d just like to talk someone with years of experience in your sector who’s seen it all before, get in touch.