Timing is why hiring in December will be this year’s checkmate move. As a managing director of a recruitment firm, it’s my job to know the employment trends and current industry drivers. Each year, I tout the benefits of hiring over the Christmas period. But this year is different. It is the tsunami of opportunities, writes Roxanne Calder, founder of administration and recruitment agency EST10.
In the timing equation, it is about the precise moment when business friction (i.e. the force of resistance related to executing a business model), is reduced.
Business friction 2022
Even with the pandemic accompanying us into 2022, we still held firm to the belief this year would be different. And it was. Starting strongly, total job vacancies in February saw an increase of 6.9 per cent from November 2021. The Australian economy grew 3.9 per cent over 2021-22, the strongest year-on-year growth since 2011-12. Boundless business opportunities were in sight.
For jobseekers, as the Great Resignation entered our periphery, the fear of job losses were abandoned. In July, Australia’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.4 per cent, continuing the trend of the lowest level in 48 years. Concurrently, job vacancies increased dramatically, with May 2022 vacancies 111.1 per cent higher than in February 2020. We were gifted with abundant job choices.
For businesses with close to full employment levels and Everest-high demands for human capital, the force of resistance was formidable.
Relying on talent acquisition as a growth strategy was flawed and the skills shortage further burdened businesses with unforeseeable high costs.
To compete, everything was on offer; four-day weeks, workcations, salary increases, paid holidays before commencement, sign-on bonuses and job offers within 24 hours. A melting pot of hiring exasperation and jobseeker delight.
The cost of an empty seat? If we didn’t know before, we do now. As your team carries the extra workload, add employee burnout and resignations to the price tag, and the likelihood of poor customer experiences. As a result of the skills shortage, 46 per cent of small businesses, 40 per cent of medium and 29 per cent of large businesses had business operations impacted to a great extent.
If the inability to convert opportunity to revenue wasn’t enough, nearly half of all businesses also experienced increases in operating costs.
The timing is now. That grating business friction with its impregnatable power is finally weakening. Job advertisements are already falling, with September 2022 seeing a decline of 5.2 per cent – the largest monthly fall in the past twelve months. In addition, applications per job ad rose by 10.3 per cent, the greatest rise since April 2020.
These two conditions equate to reduced competition and increased candidate availability, welcoming the motivated jobseeker rather than the opportunistic one.
There is a significant difference between the two. The first brings motivation through the search for a more substantial goal. The latter could have difficulty accepting the root cause for the change – often leading to regret. For engagement, commitment and retention, hiring a motivated jobseeker makes a world of difference.
But don’t be complacent! The landscape remains tough. Despite the reduction in job advertisements, they are still significantly high; 42.5 per cent higher than in September 2019. For those who recall hiring in 2019, we know it wasn’t easy.
The good news: we have become recruitment fit.
Training at altitude with Himalayan hiring challenges made us athletic in our adaptability and flexibility. Never have we been more informed and recruitment fit.
The competition may be softening, but now is not the time for an off-season. Keep game ready:
- Don’t wait for the elusive benchmarks.
- Still be quick. Delays in the hiring process will guarantee missing out on talent.
- Compromise remains key. The slight loosening of talent availability doesn’t mean an avalanche of skills. Know what you can and can’t do without.
- Continue to view your requirements through today’s prism, not yesteryear’s job description.
If you see hiring over this period as a cost due to the public holidays and downtime, instead, think of it as an investment. Use the time for training, upskilling, great onboarding and to secure engagement – the main insurance on your human capital investment.
This is an advantageous time. Be ahead of the rest and free yourself of carrying the hiring burden into the New Year!
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