100% of leaders in Executive Outlook report skill shortages

Our study indicates we’re heading a perfect storm – businesses have the work coming in but not enough staff. Demand for labour has gone through the roof.  Some let people go in the midst of COVID, and are now struggling to hire.  Workers are more cautious about changing careers.  Companies are responding with higher wages (including sectors affected by foreign labour shortages, such as agriculture).

100% of leaders in Executive Outlook are experiencing skills shortages (so far).

This is unprecedented! We’ve been in business for 34 years, and have never seen demand for talent this high.

Technology is where it’s all happening.  Cyberattacks on websites, identity fraud and scams fuelled by COVID have skyrocketed (ACSC reports a 60% increase in ransomware attacks against Australian entities).  This has paved the way for cybersecurity specialists to counter attacks. The market’s also red-hot for Web designers, ap developers, robotics engineering and digital marketers.

“You need brilliant IT support behind the scenes.” (Executive Outlook)

There are chronic shortages of nurses and health professionals locally (and nationwide).

“Young people want work-life balance, 24 hour shifts are not attractive to them.” (Executive Outlook)

Legal and finance professionals are also light on the ground, as well as logistics personnel.  Our clients also face a shortage of switched-on business developers to find opportunities and build relationships.  These trends are reflected further afield.

  • Hro2 Australian Job Index: Job postings rose 4.3% in May to reach another all-time high.  Director Bob Oliver said “It mirrors the property market with a fear of missing out on talent … I have never seen demand this high”.
  • Australian Industry Group’s Performance of Construction Index:  Demand for construction workers hit a record high in May. With new orders and the pipeline of infrastructure projects growing strongly, Head of policy Peter Burns said “there is a clear need for industry and governments to ensure adequate capacity in the sector and its supply chains” to meet demand.   
  • Kevin Wheeler, Future of Talent Institute founder says “The world’s population is shrinking significantly – in fact… it will become a critical issue in the next decade or so.”
  • The Federal Government has doubled onshore visa holders to 41 skilled occupations on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List.  RCSA CEO Charles Cameron says this shows an awareness that “our comparative advantage in handling COVID, in Australia, will be lost if we don’t find great people” to leverage opportunities.

Our advice is to consider candidates with transferrable skills, like values, attitude and people skills from other sectors.  Now is the time to hire on potential.  How adaptable are they?  Can I train them quickly?  The focus has also shifted to internal mobility and upskilling, alumni networks and referrals.

Compiled by Jan Gadsden, Founder of Top Office Group Pty Ltd.