Discovering People


    Issue #47

    How to Survive in this Candidate Shortage Market

    It is no secret that Australia is currently facing a serious labour shortage... It is a trend that is evident throughout the top 50 industrialised countries in the world. An aging population, retiring baby boomers, declining birth rates and a shift in attitudes about the work / life balance, creates this problem that will see the job market become even tighter in the medium to long term.

    The sudden nature of this turnaround is increasingly frustrating for employers, given that twelve months ago the market was saturated with job seekers. Now in many sectors, few, if any suitable candidates are being presented to fill job vacancies. Fairfax can substantiate this claim. They have reported that on a weekly average in July, 126,800 new jobs were advertised - these figures were at a three-year record high compared to the unemployment rate, which is at a record low.

    With a shortage of candidates and an abundance of positions, companies are increasingly finding that they have to speed up the recruitment process in order to secure quality people to fill their vacancies. As many have already seen, the time spent waiting to interview additional candidates as "points of comparison" can result in missing out on the ideal person for the role. Decisions need to be made quickly, as other employers who are offering equally attractive positions are snapping up strong candidates.

    So as this candidate shortage intensifies, what can a company do to survive in today’s market?

    During the past four years employers have enjoyed a surplus of good candidates, which has enabled them to keep a lid on salaries. We are now beginning to see salaries and bonus structures rise in accordance with this increased level of demand, so as the end of 2004 approaches, employees who are not well looked after by their employers, may cast their eyes over this new, buoyant job market. Increasing salaries is the not the only strategy that companies may adopt, now is the perfect time to start implementing attraction, retention and workforce planning strategies. Companies may have to be more flexible with their staff, and concentrate on pleasing their employee’s non-pecuniary needs.

    In this new employment market it needs to be realised that there is no sure thing when it comes to sourcing candidates, so we need to ensure that we get the simple things right. As the problem does not look to improve anytime soon, companies that wish to attract great candidates may have to adapt their Human Resources practises accordingly, to stay ahead.

    If you are finding it a challenge to source suitable candidates in this changing market, please do not hesitate in contacting Discovering People. We are constantly in contact with a large pool of candidates, both active and passive job seekers, so our contacts may prove to be the competitive advantage you are looking for!


    If you have any questions, human resources issues to discuss or would like to give any feedback in regards to this newsletter, please don't hesitate to email