The Talent Crunch (and what comes next)

It’s a great time to be a jobseeker right now. Who could dream unemployment would fall to 3.5% (the lowest level in 48 years)?  New figures from the ABS show job mobility is at a 10-year high.  Job switching, counter offers and wages are all on the rise. We hear about top performers being poached by competing firms offering crazy salaries and incentives. Alan Kohler reports show “we have almost as many job vacancies as there are people” (9 vacancies for every 10 people on the dole). That’s never happened before. Employers are under pressure to financially reward loyalty “or risk an exodus of knowledge”.

Now is the time to lock-in talent by hiring on potential, with a training plan. Look beyond the job title, to enhance your talent pool.

 “In this tight market, You’re only likely to get a 60-70% fit – the rest comes down to potential”…  Belinda Hermann, Managing Director, Top Office Group

How did we get here? The “Great Resignation” tide sweeping the globe stemmed from an existential reassessment of our lives.  While population growth is recovering, there’s been a surge in retirements (there’s a lot of us, and that’s a lot of knowledge walking out the door).

Have you heard about ‘The Great Regret’ out of America?  One in four workers who changed jobs admit “they didn’t weigh up the pros and cons enough before leaving.” As a result, ‘boomerang employees’ are on the rise.

The bottom line is it’s much cheaper and saves time to retain our talent, and give them the tools they need to thrive.

Invest in your people and help them grow

We find our candidates value work-life balance, career development and meaningful work (of course, money’s up there, too). Younger workers are more skilled and agile. They want choices on when and where they work, but that doesn’t mean a plush office in the city.  They’re attracted to workplaces that embrace the ‘live and work anywhere’ philosophy”.

Alongside salaries, we advise our clients to bolster career pathways, bonuses, flexible hours and work from home options. Training and technology upgrades are also high on employee wish-lists. Candidates have multiple job offers, so you need be competitive in all these areas.

Hybrid work is here for the long haul, it’s popular and enhances productivity, as long as guidelines and expectations are crystal clear.

 “Staff are more engaged, travel less and seem happier”. (Executive Outlook 2021)

 As Baby Boomers walk their knowledge out the door, the pressure is on new talent. If we don’t train, mentor and invest in younger workers, we risk a productivity crisis. Some firms see no point developing their skills because they won’t hang around long enough to use them. Only one thing worse: If we don’t invest in our future leaders, they will simply leave and lead elsewhere.

One last idea from America (it’s a bit out there, but catching on).  Masses of workers procured companion dogs in lockdowns. Now, the dilemma of separation anxiety and how dogs cope when owners returned to offices has hit home.

So, Amazon Australia has launched a ‘Dogs At Work’ program in some metro offices. They found 23% of Australians adopted a dog during the pandemic, and 71% wanted to bring their pet to work. Their global program is a “massive hit with employees” with 8,000 dogs registered.  They need confirmation the dog is friendly and a signed consent from co-workers that they’re “happy to have a pooch in their pod” (just putting it out there).  Read more.

We match people with your jobs (scaling up to match dogs could be a bit of a stretch).  So, we’ll stick to our day job instead.

If you’re looking for a superstar or trainee, call our team at Top Office.

Economic headwinds

The question of whether these conditions last goes to the heart of a severe emerging issue around economic headwinds.

The last year has been underpinned by a perfect storm of supply chain backlogs, worker shortages and rising costs in so many industries. It’s been dubbed the “The Everything Shortage”(materials, products, housing and workers alike). In response, inflation has a foothold, with flow-on effects for the economy, as costs are passed onto consumers.

It feels like we got to this place because was deemed “too dangerous” to go out and produce anything during COVID. To counter this, trillions of stimulus dollars poured into world economies by central banks as a buffer. Suppliers couldn’t keep up with demand generated by the extra cash. We’re now starting to see the opposite effect.

Our RBA only increase interest rates when jobs and the economy are performing well, and that’s a good thing. But if these spikes in inflation last, purchasing power can plummet quickly, and that’s not so great. Company profits are squeezed by higher input prices, rising capital costs and cooling demand. Acceleration of housing, rent, fuel and food costs have hit all sectors. The terms “demand destruction” and “new world order” are being thrown around (quite a lot). Whichever way this goes, it pays to “build a sustainable business that can survive a crash”.

We’re keen to explore the impact of these macro trends at a local level, through our annual Executive Outlook survey (in particular, business sentiment, conditions and skills shortages, as well as the after effects of COVID stimulus leading to inflation and what that means for local businesses).

Presented exclusively by Top Office Group, no other survey gives such a detailed analysis of business sentiment in our region, matched against broader trends (this is our 14th year running).  If you would like to come on board to share your insights, please call Roger on 3812 2920. We love your feedback.

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