How are Macro-Economic and Political Challenges Affecting Australian Recruitment?

Aaron McIntosh, APAC General Manager at Bullhorn.

According to Bullhorn’s GRID survey, “uncertainty over the economy and future growth” is the number one concern for nearly half (48 per cent) of APAC recruiters. Close on its heels are legislative changes (39 per cent) and restrictions on the use of foreign labour (31 per cent). Recruiters are rightly concerned – several political and economic challenges are affecting their industry, as well as changing expectations around work.

The good news is that there are things recruiters can do to protect and prepare themselves and their businesses – mainly by knowing the challenges that lie ahead and the solutions they can adopt. Let’s take a closer look at them.


Competition from Around the World

The ongoing trade war between the US and China has had an impact on the Australian market. According to a PwC report, over a fifth (21 per cent) of Chinese CEOs consider Australia the most important region for growth, compared to the US, which has fallen from nearly two thirds (59 per cent) to less than a fifth (17 per cent). 

To take advantage of the increased investment from China, recruiters must maintain a smooth candidate recruitment process.  A simplified application process will limit the frustration of candidates and prevent them from quitting or taking up competing offers. 

Targeted advertising has become much more effective with modern digital marketing tools. Pinpoint adverts can be timed to perfection through automation and segmentation.  Social media advertising, too, has become an extremely popular recruitment platform. Already cheap and effective, supporting technology has made it even easier to reach out to prospects. 

Shortage of Skills

Skills deficits, particularly in the IT and cybersecurity fields, was cited among the top three challenges that recruiters faced in 2019. Many recruiters are struggling to keep up with high levels of demand across all areas and need to come up with creative ways of filling vacancies.

One way to tackle skills shortages is to consider a more diverse set of candidates. Nearly two fifths (38 per cent) of recruiters agree that diversity will be a significant trend in the industry, which is an excellent sign that they’re open to looking at new pools of talent. Pursuing traditional avenues will target traditional candidates. Conversely, new channels and fresh approaches to job specs will attract different talent.

Attracting more diverse candidates isn’t as tricky as it sounds. Often, just the wording of a job ad can put people off from applying. For example, terms like ‘commanding’ and ‘dominant’ typically attract male candidates. Companies that are more mindful of their language will have the first pick of a broad range of qualified applicants.


Tapping into the Global Talent Pool

The end of the 457 Visa means recruiters have less access to qualified foreign candidates and has particularly impacted the STEM field. This international talent pool was crucial for overcoming other challenges, like the ageing population and changes to workplace routines, and the changes have created a problem for recruiters.

One way to tackle this is to create an easy application process with the aim of acquiring as many candidates as possible. Firms seem to be aware of this, as according to our GRID findings, candidate acquisition and experience are among their top two priorities. The vast majority (83 per cent) of APAC recruiters agree that digital transformation will help their businesses. They’re correct that the right tools can help a business grow: from automation to client relations management to social media, the latest technology can certainly have a measurable impact on the bottom line. 

Modern platforms offer an intuitive experience from application to onboarding, as well as time and payment management. Efficient application processes increase the speed at which roles are filled – recruiters using the latest technology can fill positions up to 60 per cent faster than competitors. 

While there are challenges ahead, the changes they cause can spark new opportunities in Australian recruitment. As long as recruiters are adaptable to change, they will be able to take advantage of these opportunities and thrive.

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