Greetings from Gayleen

– February 2022

Precruitment is in its 24th year of operations in Far North Queensland and in that time, we have been through lots of really significant events. These events include the life changing, September 11, the GFC, Sars, GST, the collapse of large corporations, including Ansett and the mining industry, weather events including, droughts, floods, and cyclones. For the last 2+ years we have experienced one of our biggest challenges of this period, COVID.

We have met all these challenges, some of which we thought were insurmountable and we have learnt and grown. In this time technology has grown at an exponential rate with advances we could not have dreamed of 24 years ago.  The internet really was a game changer as social media has been.  Advancements in online meetings have evolved as the norm and webinars have replaced face to face seminars and working from home has become much of a norm.

So, what crisis do we face now? A shortage of workforce across Australia in all sectors and all professions. ‘Crisis’ is a strong word but that it is exactly how it has been declared by industry and government including our professional body the RCSA (Recruitment Consultant Services of Australia). When this crisis first became apparent to us in Precruitment, we surmised that it was a local problem largely associated with border closures. However, it is now evident that this crisis is national, and forecasts indicate that it won’t be solved for several years to come.

For the last two decades we in regional and NQ have rarely had unemployment below 10% and often up around 15% plus. Where are we now? Sitting around 4% unemployment. 5% unemployment has long been considered full employment. No longer is the employer’s market, it’s the job seekers market, and relevant skills set are premium.

Yes, there are changes in the industry sectors that are growing.  This trend has always been the case. We have seen demands for skills in call centres and sales, technology, mining, and professions including engineering, accounting, and law. We have seen down turns in these professions and industries from time to time only to see them bounce back, but perhaps in a different model. The professions have, for the most part, returned to strength. The industries that have not bounced back are being replaced by professions and industries including health, aged care, childcare and a resurgence in trades, mining and manufacturing.

I do remember working my first 5 years in the recruitment industry in Silicon Valley USA during the high tech and biotech boom of the 1990’s. Everyone was employed. We didn’t bother to advertise a job vacancy for our clients as we knew from experience there would be no response. That was a great place for me to learn how to successfully recruit in a similar market with the skills shortage crisis we currently face. What did we do? We built strong relationships with our candidates and clients. ‘Relationships for life’ is how we described them. We earned trust and respect by treating people just how we would like to be treated under the same circumstances. In return they gave us loyalty and listened to our professional advice. How did our clients attract and employ the best staff? Firstly, by having a great culture and great working conditions!  However, to get the best people on board they understood they must move quickly in their recruitment methodology and be nimble in hiring decisions.

This is what employers need to do now if they want to attract and successfully employ staff. They need to move fast and have great and trusted relationships in their network. Technology has helped the employment decision making process. Skills assessments, qualification and background checking and onboarding can now all be completed online and during the recruitment and interview process either inhouse or by a recruitment or service provider specialist.

If you need to change your profession or upskill. There is currently a tremendous amount of free, or near free, training being provided by education institutions. They are supported by governments at all levels in an effort to overcome this crisis. So, take advantage! It couldn’t be a better time for opportunities to successfully change your direction.