As 2021 draws to a close, with the changing dynamics of businesses, work and employees, the world of work has transformed. For Australia, borders have remained shut for over a year and are now expected to get delayed further.
We spoke to Justin Falk, Founder & CEO of TalentVine, a recruitment marketplace for employers to connect with top-rated recruitment consultants across Australia. To date, TalentVine has raised over $700,000 and services over 1,000 employers across Australia ranging from some of the larger corporate enterprises to very small early-stage SMEs and startups. Some key customers include the likes of Ernst and Young, Optus, WorkCover Queensland, iSelect and Myer. On the other side of our marketplace, it also services over 450 specialist recruitment agencies.
Justin shared how the recruitment market fared in Australia in 2021 and what would be the major trends in recruitment in 2022 as Australia starts easing border controls.
Here are a few excerpts.
What were some of the overarching trends in recruitment in Australia in 2021?
The Australian recruitment market in 2021 was mainly exacerbated by the closed borders that we’ve has been dealing with over the last 18 months. This meant that there has been a severe shortage of skilled and technical workers.
Some estimates have put this at a deficit of about 134,000 required employees in the Australian skilled and technical workforce.
Therefore, the overarching trend has been almost a panic for organisations to find the talent they need during COVID.
Pandemic border closures have further exacerbated a serious skills shortage in Australia. How do you think that affected the recruitment market?
Spaces in which mass redundancies took place were very strongly affected. Talent acquisition was one of these sectors. As a result, many employers are struggling to not only find the right talent but find the talent acquisition teams to help them hire this talent.
This has resulted in an overarching reliance on using specialist recruitment agencies, as teams have been forced to outsource their talent acquisition requirements. Many need to make use of these specialists, who are able to find the candidates that employers have been struggling to do so themselves. It’s really encouraging to see the attitude towards recruiters change as employers realise how valuable they are in the recruitment process.
What are some of the other challenges which the recruitment market faced this year? Which sectors faced pressing challenges?
Sectors such as hospitality and trades have really struggled in their recruitment this year.
This is because, during the COVID lockdowns, many employees in these sectors were stood down. Of those, many more used the opportunity to reskill and get jobs in other areas. Now, as we see Australia starting to open up, there's very little interest from these employees to return to their previous careers.
Fruit picking and the fruit picking labour market has been another sector very strongly affected. Australia is now actually seeing fruit rot on the ground because farmers have been unable to find the people to pick it. Likewise, there are cafes that have had to close down during the whole pandemic. Now when they're allowed to open, they're actually unable to find the required staff and are struggling to stay open. This is an issue that is going to keep compounding and worsen in Australia until the borders open and we once again have access to that broader talent pool.
How did TalentVine help its clients to face these challenges especially amidst the Great Resignation wave?
TalentVine has been very well placed to help clients during this great resignation wave. Employers are able to leverage the skills, experience, and networks of our recruiters to gain access to candidates previously unavailable. For example, candidates for niche, hard-to-fill roles and those who are not necessarily active job seekers. Because we have so many active recruiters currently working on roles that employers are looking for, it's been an easy, logical step for employers to take. They jump onto TalentVine, compare, select and engage with recruiters that can actually help them to secure the talent they need.
What do you think will be the major trends in recruitment in 2022 as Australia starts easing border controls? What do you think the future scope/potential looks like for the market in the coming years?
We'll start to see employers have more of a focus on their employer brand, as they realize it becomes more and more competitive to find the best talent.
Trying to compete on salaries alone is going to be unsustainable and this will drive more employers to focus on what value they can truly provide to their employees.
One of the main trends that we will see is the willingness to allow teams to work from home and work remotely. There has been anecdotal data showing massive increase in productivity and team happiness when they are allowed to either work from home or embrace a more hybrid model of working.