HR Market Update

If I think back to last May when Australia was still relatively early on in its Covid journey, there were many economists predicting a V-shaped recovery to the economy.

I gladly accepted this point of view at the time and then shared it with as many of my network as I could, but if I’m honest I think it was more a case that I hoped if I said it enough times it might come true!

Yet here we are, not even 12 months later, in as busy a job market as we experienced in 2019. Despite those early optimistic predictions, it is still quite astonishing to see such a rebound especially when you consider the fact that so many parts of the world are still struggling to deal with the pandemic. The vaccine roll-out globally is helping, but even so, it is a pretty stark contrast from where things were.

Below are 5 of our current HR job-market observations:

1 – People & Culture’s reputation enhanced

HR professionals have been worked very hard over this past year, but it has not been in vain. Interestingly, the team have had many conversations with HR professionals who have seen their impact increase within their respective companies, with Covid affording them the opportunity to show how much value HR can add. HR teams have been able to step up in a crisis and pull together contingency plans for a situation that had no blueprint. Plenty of organisations already got “it”, but a number of others clearly needed a gentle nudge!

2 – Volume of contracting candidates for short-term assignments in short supply.

The Interim team are extremely busy right now and it is becoming increasingly obvious that the supply of short-term talent is lower than we would normally expect. This is likely as a result of the closed Australian borders which means the flow of working-holiday visa candidates, who often provide great additional skills for short term assignments, has been severely impacted. There is also a significant reduction of returning Australians and sponsored individuals relocating to Australia, who are often accompanied by partners looking for opportunities.

3 – Huge demand for Talent Acquisition candidates.

Almost every Client in our network is actively looking for good talent acquisition specialists to join their team. When companies start hiring recruiters, it always points to a positive economy. Often these are the first roles to be cut when the economy stalls and it was a familiar story when Covid hit last year. The internal talent acquisition market has now experienced its own ‘V’ curve and as demand for talent increases, remuneration packages are recovering to pre-Covid levels.
Internal Recruitment teams are working on a huge volume of roles and many are struggling to keep on top of demands so whilst there are permanent opportunities available, they are also looking to add contractors to the team in the short/medium term and immediately available talent is moving quickly. Often with only one interview.
In line with the market, Peoplecorp are also on the look out for great recruiters to join our team!

4 – Significant amount of ‘First time’ head of HR roles.

We have noticed a sharp increase in the number of businesses looking for their first Head of People & Culture, or elevating their HR function onto the ELT. It’s certainly a strong sign that many businesses are continuing to scale up in the current market, in spite of Covid.

5 – Using an external recruitment partner to source passive candidates.

There is no doubt that posting a job advert on the usual mediums still generates a large volume of candidates, but in the current market, this only tends to attract candidates who are actively seeking opportunities. The passive talent market is very inwardly focused right now, either due to necessity, with high workloads, or because they are nervous about making a move as they still have the perception of market instability. A lot of our Clients are choosing to engage with Peoplecorp on a retained basis so we can invest the time to tap into that passive market and position great opportunities. The passive talent market is often open to a move but it needs to be approached pro-actively. Progressive companies, who want to attract the best candidates, have realised this and are choosing to partner with an external recruitment provider to ensure a successful outcome. We have received a similar number of job briefs to the corresponding 2-month period in 2019, but the quality of engagement is far higher.