Seventy-eight per cent of recruiters in Australia and New Zealand believe that reskilling employees will be an effective way to address talent shortages. In addition, 72 per cent believe that employers will also have to accelerate pay increases to compete for qualified candidates in 2019.
This is according to a survey of more than 250 Australian and New Zealand recruitment professionals by Bullhorn. When asked for their three most urgent hiring challenges for the year ahead, recruiters cited: skills shortages and shallow talent pools (by 74 per cent), accelerating salary increases (by 32 per cent), and the rise of non-traditional labour models, including freelancers, contract workers, and statement-of-work solutions (by 26 per cent).
As for improving operational performance, 80 per cent of recruiters claimed that embracing digital transformation – defined as the integration of technology into all areas of their business for the purposes of improving operations and the way they deliver value to customers – would be a significant, yet important challenge this year. Accordingly, more than half (58 per cent) of respondents said that their agency’s technology investments will increase.
Aaron McIntosh, Bullhorn’s APAC general manager, commented: “Recruitment is undergoing constant change, and much of that change is driven by technology. While technology certainly goes some way to connect recruiters with candidates in light of skills shortages and gaps, they have to think more broadly if they are to successfully support client hiring needs. Reskilling, accelerating pay increases, and focusing on the non-obvious hires – the ones that get overlooked because they don’t fit the traditional profile – also represent important ways forward.”
Bullhorn’s survey also found that 64 per cent of respondents felt that diverse organisations perform more effectively than others.
Despite challenges, most recruiters trended toward optimism: 75 per cent of recruiters see globalisation and technological advancements as an opportunity, 83 per cent of recruiters believe that digital transformation will help their agency’s growth, and 91 per cent of recruiters believe that embracing digital transformation is critical to remain competitive in 2019.
Attitudes to technology were also broadly positive, with 59 per cent of recruiters arguing that artificial intelligence – one aspect of the digital transformation journey – will have a positive impact on candidate and client engagement.
“This willingness to embrace technology reflects recruitment’s progress as a profession,” said McIntosh. “It’s an ultra-competitive industry, and many agencies need to go a step further to provide comprehensive workforce solutions. Digital transformation can help them take that step. In the year ahead, expect agencies to expand their services as clients look for a single point of contact for all staffing and hiring requirements.”
Meanwhile, almost half of respondents are worried about the state of the economy, and more than a third cite the potential legislative agenda as an area of concern. Some 48 per cent of recruiters are concerned about current levels of uncertainty around the market and future growth, and 39 per cent of them are apprehensive about new rules and regulations in the year ahead.
The survey also revealed that just 31 per cent of recruiters believe the limits being placed on foreign labour are problematic.
“It’s a market that’s especially sensitive to economic movements, so it’s not surprising that a significant minority of recruiters are anxious about it,” added McIntosh. “Immigration restrictions may also hamper agencies and clients in 2019 – the end of the 457 visa scheme has stemmed the flow of overseas talent, making it imperative to tap into alternative talent pools.”