Business leaders loosen hiring requirements for hard-to-fill roles

New research from specialised talent solutions provider, Robert Half shows the severe national shortage of skilled talent brings a silver lining for the Australian workforce as many employers have become less demanding when recruiting. 84% of Australian hiring managers say they are currently willing to overlook previously important credentials when hiring for hard-to-fill roles.

Business leaders loosen hiring requirements for hard-to-fill roles

  • 84% of Australian business leaders are willing to compromise on key credentials when hiring for hard-to-fill roles.
  • Education (20%), technical certifications (17%) and number of years of experience (16%) are the top three qualifications businesses are willing to overlook when hiring for hard-to-fill roles
  • 84% are likely to invest in training and upskilling to mitigate skills shortages.
  • 84% are likely to hire contract workers to fill gaps in the short term.

Sydney, 06 April 2022 – With the flow of international talent significantly down compared to pre-pandemic and job vacancies at record highs, new research from specialised talent solutions provider, Robert Half shows the severe national shortage of skilled talent brings a silver lining for the Australian workforce as many employers have become less demanding when recruiting. 84% of Australian hiring managers say they are currently willing to overlook previously important credentials when hiring for hard-to-fill roles.

Skills gaps threaten strategic priorities

As the economy rebounds, difficulties accessing the required skills to meet the strategic priorities of CIOs and CFOs could slow the momentum of business recovery across Australian industries. While more than half (54%) of CIOs say maintaining security across business systems and safeguarding company information is their top strategic priority for 2022, nearly two-thirds (63%) say cyber-security skills are the most challenging to hire locally. Similarly, 45% of CFOs say cost reduction is their top priority this year, but almost half (49%) are struggling to hire the required financial management skills in the Australian market.

The survey by Robert Half shows about one-fifth of employers are becoming more willing to look past candidates’ education and technical certifications respectively when hiring for the most hard-to-fill roles. Another 16% identify the number of years’ experience candidates have as the main qualification they’d be willing to disregard. On the other hand, employers are least willing to overlook an applicant’s soft skills (8%), their specific relevant industry experiences (11%), as well as candidates’ cultural fit within the organisation(12%). 

The Robert Half survey asked Australian business leaders which qualifications they would be most willing to overlook when hiring for hard-to-fill roles.

Education level

20%

Technical certifications

17%

Number of years’ experience

16%

Cultural fit

12%

Industry experience

11%

Soft skills

8%

Nothing

16%

Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 100 business leaders in Australia.

 

Shifting the focus to internal development

In lieu of hiring skilled professionals who already possess the required years of industry experience or technical qualifications for a role, employers are investing in their internal development and training programs. By offering the right training and support, companies can upskill high-potential candidates to deliver the strategic, value-add work they need to drive business forward. More than eight-in-ten (84%) Australian business leaders say they’re likely to prioritise and invest in training and upskilling within their teams to mitigate skills shortages.

Contract work is creating flexibility in a challenging hiring climate

Hiring timelines for many businesses have increased because of the challenging hiring conditions, but the demand for a specific skillset can’t always wait for the right candidate to be found or for available candidates to upskill. To support the timeliness and continuity of project-based transformation work, companies are employing contract professionals to immediately access niche skills in short supply. More than eight in ten (84%) Australian business leaders are likely to hire contract workers to fill gaps on a short term or project basis amidst burgeoning skills shortages.

“Technological advancements are evolving many roles which is elevating demand for new skills that are not widely developed in an already tight talent pool. The perfect candidate is elusive so in order to fill skills gaps and remain on target with strategic objectives, companies must be open to assessing candidates for their potential to develop their skills and how likely they are to add value to existing teams. This silver lining to this is that is has opened new avenues for candidates who may previously have been overlooked but bring the soft skills, appetite to learn, and passion for the role necessary to become a valuable employee,” said Andrew Brushfield, Director Robert Half Australia in announcing Robert Half’s latest survey results.  

Organisations that identify the most capable and adaptable talent will be able to leverage tactics like succession planning, professional development, and internal mobility to optimise workforce potential into the future. Prioritising succession planning and internal mobility within a company is that upskilling and career progression are known to improve retention – provided it’s clearly communicated. Visible policies and clarity around future career pathways can also give companies the competitive edge among candidates considering competing offers.

“The flexible labour market can also add value and support companies’ permanent hiring strategies by quickly filling skills gaps where there are critical business needs and timeliness is key. Contract workers can also help companies minimise risks by allowing them to efficiently manage headcount and staffing costs while trialling new roles before committing to a permanent hire,” concludes Brushfield.

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Notes to editors 

 

About the research 

The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted online in November – December 2021 by an independent research company, surveying 300 hiring managers, including 100 CFOs and 100 CIOs, from companies across Australia. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management, and trends in the workplace.   

 

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