Globalisation has had a significant impact on the Australian recruitment industry in recent years. While the labour needs of national industries remain a crucial priority, they are under increased pressure to keep up with global market demands and trends. What’s more, new technologies have transformed not only how people work, but also how they look for work. This is especially true of the Millennial generation who, by and large, have grown up online.
Increased connectivity has also narrowed the geographical gap between Australia and the rest of the world – with bitter-sweet consequences. As distances and differences shrink, young, travel hungry Australians can look for career opportunities overseas more easily, while the local recruitment industry can, in turn, tap into global talent pools to supplement its needs. In fact, the Australian industry has historically relied on recruiters coming to work from overseas, from places like the UK. However, tightening immigration rules make relying on consultants from abroad increasingly difficult.
The Australian recruitment industry already suffers from high turnover. People move between firms regularly, which is both disruptive and expensive. As a result, many firms – frustrated by the lack of dependable senior recruiters – hire less experienced staff who aren’t necessarily qualified for their roles. Full-service recruitment firms are most affected, as they require generalist consultants who can comfortably operate across a range of key areas.
The growing industry perception is that trying to attract young local recruiters is more hassle than it’s worth. In many respects, this is more a reflection on the firms than it is on Millennials. A lack of understanding with regards to the Millennial labour force has overblown the challenges of working with them and underplayed the benefits.
Here are four reasons why Australian recruitment firms need to up their game to attract this generation of employees – as well as some ideas on how to do it.
- Results driven
Millennials are often described as people who are motivated by experiences. This applies to both their personal and work lives – ideally with some crossover. They are not content to stay in the same job for years with no clear progress path and will happily hop between firms to satisfy their appetite for advancement. While older generations may roll their eyes at this impatience, there is a sure-fire way for recruitment firms in search of talent to use this to their advantage.
Younger employees will work extra hard if they feel interested and invested in their jobs. They are curious about the company they work for and want their job to provide them with a sense of personal purpose. This ambition needs to be harnessed through ongoing training and skills development programmes that help them participate in more ways than one.
Millennials tend to prefer teamwork over solo missions; a study from EY stated that 74 per cent put great value on collaboration and feedback. They need to know they are doing a good job and feel valued by their employers, as well as their colleagues. In a nutshell, Millennials want to learn and get involved with their employers’ overarching missions – and see the results of their work.
- Competitive advantage
Australian recruitment firms operate in a highly competitive market. According to the last major study of the Australian industry in 2016, there were only 7,000 agencies employing almost 100,000 people. A dose of healthy competition is always good, but it doesn’t bode well when firms are all head-hunting the same top talent.
With talented Millennial recruiters on their staff, firms could gain a crucial competitive advantage – especially when it comes to helping clients search for younger talent. The Millennial generation’s always-on digital abilities underpin key networking skills that can help build strong relationships with prospective candidates, via channels such as social media. By navigating the online world with ease, as well as understanding key Millennial concerns like the desire for flexible working hours and a healthier work-life balance, these employees can help a firm truly stand out.
- Ahead of the curve
Born into a digital age, Millennials are, for the most part, completely at home using technology and communicating online. Not too long ago, many companies banned access to social media or restricted the use of personal phones. Nowadays, these platforms and devices are acknowledged for their work benefits, enabling recruitment firms to engage with candidates through various channels.
Given their almost 24/7 online activity, Millennials are often streets ahead of current trends and – with the right technology and training – can write, post and promote a job ad with precision. In today’s recruitment industry, recruitment firms can’t wait for clients and candidates to come to them, nor can they rely on outdated methods such as cold-calling or spam emailing. They need to actively identify and target potential candidates, and sell them relevant job opportunities using a multi-channel approach.
Of course, with more recruiters exploring multi-channel marketing, firms need to cut through the noise and communicate their offers clearly. A good recruiter is one that understands the importance of personalising a message to engage with the relevant person. They can communicate effortlessly across key channels from anywhere at any time, without losing track of who they’re talking to and about what.
- Future leaders
While still relatively inexperienced compared to their older peers, Millennials are the recruitment industry’s future leaders. Each generation of workers brings with it new ideas and demands, which give rise to innovations that transform the world of work. Rather than dismiss Millennial needs, suggestions and concerns, firms should pay attention to them. This way they present themselves as an attractive employer of choice and are able to retain their staff for longer – a key factor in succession planning.
For example, empowered by modern technologies, Millennials advocate remote and flexible working. A healthy work-life balance is important to this generation and sitting in traffic for hours, or having to undergo rush-hour commutes just to clock-in at a certain time, is considered unreasonable. Recruitment firms need to bear this in mind and make sure their policies are set up to accommodate these needs.
Technology sits at the core of appealing to, and retaining, younger recruiters. Old-fashioned workplaces that haven’t moved with the times will fall behind the hiring curve, losing favour with potential employees, as well as clients and candidates. That said, how the technology is put to use is key. For at the end of day, all the devices, apps, and software in the world are only as good as the person using them.
Given the impact of a shrinking world and a global skills shortages, the Australian recruitment industry needs to attract Millennial employees. This is no longer a nice-to-have: it’s a business imperative that will determine the future success of many firms.