Are you thinking of switching jobs?

Unemployment in Australia hits 12-year high but if you’re at the top of your game, you might still be attractive to employers.

The talent war heats up for those with the right skills.

According to the 2014/15 Michael Page Salary & Employment Forecast, released last month, 52 per cent of employers expect staff to leave their organisation in the next 12 months.

It is, the survey says, clear that the Australian market is becoming more active, with a positive outlook for the next year.

"The message for employers is to act now to secure the top talent their business needs," the forecast says.

But securing top talent has become problematic for organisations.

Recent research by recruitment firm The Search Party reveals more than half Australian businesses hire unsuitable staff, and that timing constraints within the recruitment process is a leading cause.

"Strong candidates are always going to be challenging to find," says Megan Bromley, employee experience manager at online experiential gifting retailer, RedBalloon.

"Businesses need to remain open to new ways of doing things and trial the latest approaches to recruit and retain leading talent."

"It's pretty obvious that being reactive is not the way forward," adds Cameron Davidson, sourcing manager Asia Pacific at recruitment agency Hudson.

"What I mean by that is posting advertising is not going to attract the best talent in the market."

Davidson says 75 per cent of candidates are not actively working for work, but 50 per cent are open to opportunities.

"If you can't offer someone a role where they feel they've got meaning, they're at very high risk of moving on." – Cameron Davidson

"You've got to make that opportunity good enough for them to consider your organisation," he says.

The Michael Page forecast says 24 per cent of hirers expect a shortage of professional skills across businesses over the next 12 months.

This, it warns, could negatively impact organisations looking to grow in an increasingly competitive Asia-Pacific market.

So, how can businesses attract the right talent?

Forty-one per cent of the employers surveyed indicated that the most frequent tool they use to attract and retain staff is a strong company culture (just 36 per cent in the finance sector).

But is this really enough?

Davidson doesn't think so. He says three key elements are essential to the acquisition of top talent:

  • Clearly defined and recognised employer brand
  • Strong digital presence
  • An authentic employee value proposition

"Having those three things is enough to get people to understand who you are and what you do," he maintains.

In particular, a company's website – and one that contains information relevant to potential employees – now plays a big role in recruitment, and should generate up to 10 to 15 per cent of placements a year, Davidson notes.

Combined with a powerful corporate presence on LinkedIn, and with the proviso that it's easy for candidates – including “passive” jobseekers – to pursue positions, will go a long way to ensuring the most talented not only know your brand, but are inclined to apply.

However, they want more than just a pay check at the end of the month. According to Michael Page, a mere 22 per cent of finance professionals change employers to improve their salary.

"People are looking to make a difference and have ownership of what they do," Davidson says.

"If you can't offer someone a role where they feel they've got meaning, they're at very high risk of moving on."

Looking for work?

Indeed, potentially half of all professional workers are looking to move on in the next 12 months. If you’re among them, how can you stand out from the crowd?

It's all about having a digital presence and being seen in the right places, Davidson says.

"A person with a LinkedIn profile that has the right key words and lots of information in it – an online CV, essentially – is going to be a lot easier to find than someone with just a job title."

He also recommends jobseekers be proactive in following companies they're interested in working for on social media, and gleaning as much information as possible about them.

If that dream job does come up, you’ll be informed about the organisation and in a prime position to secure it.

The road ahead

  • 31% of surveyed employers indicate they plan to increase headcount over the next 12 months
  • 52% expect staff to leave their role in the coming year
  • 26% of respondents say a salary increase is the top reason employees are likely to leave
  • 24% expect a shortage of professional skills across businesses over the next 12 months

Source: 2014/15 Michael Page Australia Salary & Employment Forecast

Related: Do your skills measure up? Assess yourself with CPA Australia's Career Guidance System

December/January 2022
December/January 2022

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