How to make the rise in new jobs work for youMarch 25, 2022
Ieuan Williams, Director at Mane Consulting wrote an article for news.com.au
There is an explosion of new jobs in Australia, so there has never been a better time to look for a new role. But there are ways to go about it.
We are living in the strangest talent market in a generation.
Driven by two years of a stagnant growth due to Covid, there has been a recent explosion of new roles in Australia. The issue in most industries is that the supply of qualified and experienced candidates doesn’t meet the demand of the vacant roles.
In any market when demand outstrips supply prices rise. This is what we are experiencing on our shores. Salaries are rising for new roles, but not everyone is seeing the benefit.
Why is it happening now?
Despite the horrible events in Ukraine and the impending rise in inflation, the global markets and indeed the Australian market are stable for the first time in two years as the world vaccinates themselves out of Covid.
What this means is businesses can now make long term plans with some clarity and get back to focusing on growth instead of survival.
New projects, new departments, new products are now being given the green light and the people needed to drive this are at a premium.
The increase in opportunities is at a contrast with the qualified individuals ready to take those jobs. Overseas students predominantly from China who used to stay in Australia after they graduate have left a vacuum in the graduate market that we don’t have the local supply to fill. It is a similar story at the top end of town within senior to executive search. A market that historically relies in part on overseas talent. Although we have seen signs of this easing with the relaxation of international travel restrictions and new visas being issued.
How you can make the great resignation work for you?
The easiest way in this market is to move jobs… though I am sure you would expect someone in recruitment to say that.
The sectors we focus on across Australia namely IT, Data, Finance and Accounting have seen a 15 to 28 percent increase in salaries for the same roles we placed 12 months ago.
However, and it is a big HOWEVER, only move jobs and organisations if it fits within your long-term career plan. A short-term move based on a salary increase may not prove the best long-term decision, though sometimes the financial pull might be too strong depending on your situation.
The first step is to assess your current skills and experience as honestly as possible. Then compare that with your longer-term aspirations. What skills are lacking? What is my next step to pursue that goal? Once you have clarity that is the time to start speaking to people in your network.
Most people have been so busy over the last few years at work and at home that they probably have neglected their external network. This is where a recruiter can help you. Specialists can point you in the right direction to assist your long term aims but also give you a truthful representation of the market and salaries.
The key thing to remember when it comes to salaries is that every organisation will view a cost (e.g. a salary) with Return on Investment (ROI) in mind. The more you are getting paid the greater the expectation to deliver.
What if you like your job?
Most people do like their job and employer. Most employees are satisfied with their work/life balance and salary. If you fall into the category of liking your job but not your work/life balance and pay you need to speak to your boss…. or your boss’ boss.
Depending on your relationship this might not be easy. You can tip the power balance in your favour by being armed with information and market knowledge.
There should be no need to go through an external recruitment process that involves interviewing with competitors to get offered a role you have no intention of taking.
This wastes your time and the other organisation’s time that could leave a bad taste. It is also a dangerous game to play if you do intend to stay at your current employer, they may call your bluff.
There is enough information out there for you to gain an understanding of what the going rate or salary is for someone at your level and experience.
If it is not forthcoming with a Google search, speak to a recruiter, explain to them you aren’t looking right now but wanted an understanding of salary levels. The good ones will be happy to talk to you and build a long-term relationship.
What to do if you are an employer
Over the past two years, a large number of individuals have sat tight within roles and companies they don’t enjoy while times were uncertain.
A number of high-profile organisations that didn’t focus on the wellbeing, mental health and wallets of their employees during the initial lockdowns have seen a backlash over the past year with higher than usual numbers of resignations.
How do you keep your top performing staff when there is plenty of choice out there?
All too often organisations are reactive to the changing market. In your workplace I am sure you know of at least one colleague who has received a pay rise because they resigned or threatened to resign. This is not a sustainable way to treat your staff or build a positive culture.
Speak to your employees or failing that research the market and assess your salary bandings. If you are a small business, you can be more flexible and offer an increase if deserving. Larger organisations have to go through a more laborious process at times, but I always find it intriguing how decisions can be made quickly once a star performer threatens to leave.
The days of a standard annual percentage increase are unlikely to cut it this year. The focus on salaries is likely to become more acute as the cost of living continues to rise this year.
Righting some wrongs
At the beginning of 2020, Covid was new to us all, as were lockdowns. While JobKeeper came through eventually there were weeks and months of uncertainty for Australian businesses.
As a result, some hard and often kneejerk decisions were made by top brass in organisations that had wide ranging impacts.
Your employees have long memories. If you cut hours while management still maintained their pre lockdown status quo believe me, it will have been noted.
If decisions were made that in hindsight were not in line with your values, organisations need to own them. Explain the rationale at the time to the remaining staff and stand by future values. Glossing over a bad reputation doesn’t work in tight markets, people talk.
For both employees and employers, it is important to be aware that the market has changed. For better or worse the current power balance has shifted, and Australian employees have more positive choices than ever before.
Without a doubt both anecdotal and tangible evidence suggest salaries have risen significantly. However, it is important to be realistic with your expectations and to get good advice. Pub talk and listening to unsubstantiated brags is not a good way to base your expectations on. Every employer will want a return on whatever you are getting paid.
Organisations need to be more agile than ever. Proactivity beats reactivity every time. Today might be the day for you to seriously review your organisation’s pay structure. Any decision made around salaries needs to be sustainable for the long-term health of your business, salaries will level off as markets open up, but will you have the right people on the bus by then?
Ieuan Williams is the Director of Mane Consulting, a specialist talent provider and AFR Top100 fastest start up.