Talent is there: it’s just hidden

Skills shortage exaggerated by inefficient practices

Elle Halliwell

Australia’s skills shortage is being exaggerated by inefficient employment practices, according to a recruitment broker firm.

NEED, a recruitment trading portal, found that current talent-seeking methods were causing delays in the hiring process.

CEO of NEED, Michael Rhodes, said that, while a genuine shortage existed in professions such as health, mining and certain trades, the problem was overestimated in many others.

"Almost every industry in Australia is claiming that there is a skills shortage," he said.

"Some companies are experiencing up to a 12 month delay in recruiting, but it is more due to the fact that Australia’s labour market has changed.

"The scattergun approach of posting a position on a job board is no longer enough to find talent."

Mr Rhodes said it was pointless hiring multiple recruitment firms to fill a single position as they all sourced their applicants from the same places.

"You’ve got multiple agencies representing one particular role, therefore it becomes frustrating and confusing for the candidate, because they could be registered with recruiter A, B and C and, if they’re all working on the same assignment, it’s very inefficient and time-wasting," he said.

"You see this on the Internet job boards – you can end up seeing up to six occurrences of the same job."

With the average staff turnover rate in Australia about 30 per cent, Mr Rhodes believed there was a lot of potential talent floating in the so-called ‘skills short market’.

"Somebody else’s turnover is your talent. For Australia’s $22 billion recruitment industry to have grown 27 per cent last year, there is talent out there; recruiters just need better processes and motivation to find it," he said.

"With employers and recruiters all using mainstream job boards to fish out of the same talent pool, hidden pools are being overlooked."

National general manager of human resources firm Talent2 Paula Baskus believed the skills shortage was a very real problem affecting the Australian job market, but agreed that many recruitment companies were not being resourceful enough to compensate for the limited supply of candidates.

"It’s a supply and demand thing and the problem is that we’re all becoming so demanding that we all want the best of the best of the limited supply," she said.

"Many recruiters are really only doing three things. They will search their unwieldy database, potentially pick up the phone and talk to people they know and hope to get a hit, and they will run an ad – most likely on the Internet."

Ms Baskus said successful recruiters were the ones who searched for well-qualified employees in advance to avoid falling short.

"At any given day, your company should have their website active, their networks on alert, and your Facebook and MySpace and LinkMe and LinkedIn looking for that next hot candidate," she said.

"And if you’re doing all those things at once you’re actually creating an offence strategy."

"It’s such a competitive market that we need to be looking under every stone every day."

The Sunday Telegraph


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