How to Overcome a Skills Shortage: Put Candidates First

Posted on 28 September 2017 by Chris Murphy in Human Resources

There’s no doubt that when it comes to recruiting skilled talent in Australia today, it’s a candidate’s market. Factors such as skills shortages, an aging workforce and a loss of talent through migration, are putting candidates in control of filling vacancies. The demand for skilled labour is proving to be far greater than the supply. 

The added pressure this puts on recruiters means that, in some cases, they are foregoing the full due diligence required and increasing the chances of ill-informed hiring decisions. 

Different markets with the same challenge 

The recently launched Hays 2017 Global Skills Index found that cases of “talent mismatch” are gradually creeping up year-on-year in Australia. An increasing number of organisations across the country are finding the readily available talent they hire, does not posses the skills required. 

In contrast, the outlook from the Hays report for New Zealand, is far more positive. The steady flow of New Zealanders returning home is giving employers greater choice when it comes to recruitment.That said, New Zealand is, in the short term, still faced with a skills shortage and a rapidly changing talent market. While the labour market is growing, so too are the number of jobs needing filled as newly created roles are quickly absorbing the best talent and the demand for highly-skilled people is high. 

It’s never been more important in both countries to ensure that the recruitment processes adopted are insightful, efficient and, critically, create a positive candidate experience. 

Changes needed to attract the best talent 

Organisations can no longer compete on salary and must adopt new approaches to differentiate them from competitors looking to hire the same talent. The processes used during the recruitment period can have a major impact. As identified by the 2017 Xref Recruitment Risk Index, there is a very real risk in the delays caused by traditional, slow recruitment processes - with 41 per cent of HR managers and recruiters admitting they had lost talent due to delays in the reference checking phase alone. 

In some markets, the drive to create a positive first impression with candidates now begins before an application is even made. Earlier this week, several New Zealand-based companies signed an open letter stating that tertiary qualifications are no longer required for a range of their skilled roles. Instead, they are committing to a focus on skills, attitudes, motivation and adaptability. 

Given its comparatively small labour market, New Zealand is fortunate to have the flexibility and close-knit network of high-profile organisations to make this kind of commitment work. But it is likely that this will lead the charge for recruitment changes globally in the not too distant future. 

Getting ahead of the competition is key 

No longer can we recruit from just an actively job-seeking talent pool, nor can we rely on the strength of our brand to be enough to win the best talent. We have to use the processes that will enable us to identify the right people for our organisations, and onboard them quickly, efficiently and with a positive first impression of their new employer. As talent pools shrink, the best candidates we’ll be snapped up increasingly quickly. Getting a step ahead of the competition now, is key.


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