We live in interesting times.  Weird politics, fake news and interest rates to make any saver cry and borrower rejoice - it is very easy to be confused about things!  But when it comes to the employment market, we can tell you this with certainty:

Finding good people for roles is becoming exceptionally hard for most businesses.

It’s no surprise - our unemployment rate is extremely low (in fact the lowest since prior to the 2009 recession).  Our immigration tap has been reduced to a trickle and many organisations are pulling out all the tricks to entice people to join (or stay with) them.

 

What areas are really busy?

Within the accounting & finance space - there has been a huge drive in newly qualified BIG 4 practice candidates who are seeking their first commercial role.  Payroll continues to be an area of huge demand especially for senior payroll managers and systems implementation managers (there is a massive skills shortage due to organisations refusing to train younger people in this crucial area of business) - earlier this year we had a $30k counteroffer for a mid-level payroll person - such is the desperation of some organisations to keep payroll expertise. 

Data, data analytics and interpretation are hot in demand.  No longer are organisations struggling to find data - they are now swimming in it and need people to interpret this and drive the business forward.  Therefore, commercial finance is another up and coming busy area, with companies looking to hire talented commercial/insight analysts and managers, along with finance business partners.

 

Is there a difference in demand between permanent and contract roles?

No.  Both areas are busy.  The contract space has been busy helping organisations with systems implementations (either ERP experts or backfill roles), but there has also been a lot of transactional level roles - a huge demand here for problem solvers.

The permanent space has been incredibly busy too.  Employers are happy to commit to permanent roles and many are finding it difficult to source the right people.  There are a number of organisations restructuring their finance teams and creating new roles right now.

 

What should I do as a potential employer?

Look after your people.  Open lines of communication to make sure they are happy in the role and the organisation.  Most people leave because they either don’t like the environment or they need somewhere else to progress.  Having said that, sometimes a bit of turnover helps you to refocus the team and rejig capability - there is always opportunity in change.

If you do need to hire - make sure you are aware of what is happening in the market for that specific role.  If you are recruiting yourself - invest the time. Good people are hard to find, so when you see a great candidate move quickly and snap them up, long recruitment processes will end up with a poor result.  

If you are using an agency - make sure they give you a good understanding of what you will need to pay and do, to ensure you attract the right person.  Make sure the agency you are using know your team, business, culture and unique selling points as at the end of the day they are the ones selling your business to a new potential hire. They are the ones explaining why they should work for your business over another! Using just one agency can maximize your chances of securing top talent, whereas using more than two can sometimes reflect badly in the market. You don’t want different agencies selling your company in different ways to the same candidate.

It is a very strong employment market.  Candidates have choice in employers and good companies are doing everything they can to attract talent.  Make sure you run a great process when hiring and look after your current staff.

(Contributions by Laura Sanford-Scutt and Olivia Ghezzi

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