How staff recruitment has changed in the past 10 years

By Robert Half on 27 May 2015

An unprecedented mix of demographic, economic and technological factors has moulded Australia’s talent market over the past decade. Has your talent-resourcing strategy moved with the times?

Rocked by far-reaching ‘disruptors’, staff recruitment in Australia has changed over the past decade.

Here are three all-pervasive ‘game changers’.

The global financial crisis (GFC)

The pinch felt by the GFC between 2007 and 2008 affected nearly all aspects of the global economy. In the recruitment space, the GFC led to slower hiring rates and even some job losses in the banking and financial-services sectors. ABS statistics showed that the unemployment rate rose by nearly two percentage points to 5.7 per cent by November 2009.

However, despite these figures, Australia’s economy faired remarkably well when compared to other countries, with some Australian banks even managing to turn a profit during this tumultuous period.

These mixed economic signals led to some interesting sentiments in the recruitment industry. Indeed, even though the Australian economy fared well throughout the GFC, consumers felt their personal circumstances had declined.

Data released by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling in 2010 revealed that 18-24-year-olds (Millennials) were hardest hit by the GFC, measuring the highest levels of unemployment and salary growth just above inflation, while those aged 55-64 received an average salary increase of 6.0 per cent over the same period.

Employer sentiments could be defined as cautious in the wake of the GFC. This led to tighter budgets, targeted recruitment solutions and often streamlined preferred-supplier arrangements with external recruiters – processes that have still yet to return to pre-GFC levels.

The rise and rise of millennials

The increasing number of millennials (those born 1980-1995), and their approach to work, has revolutionised traditional expectations around employment and recruitment practices over the past decade.

Research and advisory firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), reported that millennials place a higher priority on work-life balance and expect more flexibility in the workplace than previous generations. In addition, millennials are the gatekeepers of the digital revolution and expect instant access to information. For many businesses, the expectations of the millennial employee clash with the traditional nine-to-five job.

To illustrate this point: a Robert Half survey found that 38 per cent of CFOs believe millennials to be the most difficult generation to recruit into finance and accounting roles, compared with Gen X (24 per cent) and baby boomers (10 per cent). Likewise, over a quarter of millennial employees expect to have up to six or more employers in their careers. Maintaining quality millennial staff has become one of the biggest issues in recruitment over the past 10 years.

The solution for many employers and recruiters is thinking outside the box. These include offering unorthodox working arrangements that may not have existed in the previous decade, such as remote employee agreements; or using Millennials to pioneer new digital roles, such as those around social media, which a business had not needed prior to 2005.

Moreover, traditional job advertorials need a facelift when it comes to successfully pitching to millennial candidates. Millennials want choice and want to know what’s in store for them. They want to know about promotion and development opportunities. Smart employers now use blogs, stage interactive chats and build forums to convey this information and give candidates a sense of what it’s like to work there.

Digital disruption

Financial services, IT and media were the sectors identified as having the highest levels of digital disruption, with recruitment not far behind. In 2014, one in five job searches on Google were carried out on mobile devices, and 73 per cent of companies have successfully hired a candidate using social media.

Today, job searches have become a ‘social’ exercise and the new digital methods of recruiting, which were non-existent a decade ago, have forced the recruitment industry to rethink the way the recruitment process can deliver on expectations.

In many cases, the traditional resume and face-to-face contact that were once the cornerstones of the recruitment process have been replaced by social media interactions and job interviews over Skype. Many recruiters and employers have embraced the new online tools as a way to build relationships with future employees. Indeed, the digital era has shifted the boundaries of the job market, with recruiters now establishing contact with potential candidates earlier, often building trust well before engaging in the traditional recruitment process.

Whether you need to use mobile to attract the right candidates, you are looking for networking tips on LinkedIn or are researching careers that didn’t exist 10 years ago, the seismic shift in the recruitment landscape over the past decade has forever changed how people find work.

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