According to research from Indeed, Australian startups have been significantly affected by the much protested abolition of the federal government’s 457 visa scheme. The number of skilled work visas granted from July to December 2017 dropped by a third compared to 2016, and this left many businesses in the lurch. It hit the technology sector particularly hard, as the number of visas granted for developers and programmers dropped 31%, along with a 50 per cent drop for analyst programmers, and a 10 per cent drop for software engineers.
A skills shortage in technology is not a good look for Australian businesses – and it puts extra pressure on the sector and those recruitment companies that are relied on to source talented staff. These changes mean that recruiters need to adapt their tactics to access new pools of skilled talent and, ultimately, meet their clients’ requirements.
However, all hope is not lost for the Australian employers hungry for talent – the adaptive recruitment companies of today have some tricks up their sleeves to work around the problem.
Candidate referrals and redeployments
Referrals from existing candidates jumps to the top of the list as the single best source of talent this year. According to Bullhorn’s 2018 Australian Recruitment Trends report, a quarter of respondents (25 per cent) say referrals are their absolute best source of high quality talent, and nearly two thirds (62 per cent) place them in their top three.
Delivering a great candidate experience can pay off not just in terms of filling a position today, but also in terms of sourcing other candidates in the future, via positive referrals. Referrals are similarly important in terms of helping recruiters to grow their client bases. If they want to bring in new business, referrals from existing happy clients are key.
Redeployment, whereby the recruiter revisits previous candidates and places them in new positions, is also an increasingly popular option. It requires the recruiter to keep in touch with and on top of candidates’ career journeys – and with today’s technology, that’s not as hard as it once might have been. It means that they have more immediate and consistent access to a pool of excellent candidates – which means there are more people to place in new jobs.
It makes perfect sense that the most accomplished and tech-savvy candidates have a strong social media presence. That’s why nearly all of recruiters utilise LinkedIn as a major sourcing tool to find candidates to present to their clients.
Aside from the fact that social media is easy and (mostly) free to use, it’s also smart. It’s built in a way that lets recruiters search for good candidates at rival companies, search by keywords from the job spec to find a candidate that has the specific skills needed, and find similar people to those they already know, thus helping them source more candidates who are already on the ground.
What’s more, as new, powerful integrations between platforms like LinkedIn and other recruitment platforms are more widely adopted, expect recruiters to take their use of social to the next level.
Recruiters are naturally very close to their clients and what they need – they have to be in order to sell the job to the candidate. That means that they can often identify character types that are good for certain companies regardless of academic qualifications, specific skills, and experiences. It also means that they have anecdotal knowledge of people within a company who have moved up the ranks from one role to another. Now, recruiters must start to utilise that knowledge and pay closer attention to transferable skills in key areas like IT and STEM.
Transferable skills are crucial to helping plug skills gaps. By looking at candidates who have future potential to be upskilled, as well as those who have the existing skills sets, recruiters can significantly increase their talent pool.
Diverse talent pools
Recruiters are missing a trick if they’re not targeting a more diverse set of candidates. Boosting recruitment marketing efforts to target key groups in the labour force (e.g. millennials, seniors, and flexible workers) will go a long way to increasing the number of candidates they are able to put forward for jobs.
It’s likely that clients will be happier for it too - many companies are under increasing pressure to look at hiring underrepresented groups. Retirees, mothers returning from maternity leave, disabled people, and other minorities are all potential candidates who might have differing sets of skills and experiences that can help the company grow – both internally and in the eyes of external stakeholders.
Whilst Australian companies feel the pinch from the changes to migration policy, so too do recruiters trying to fill the roles with the right people to make their clients happy. But tried and tested tactics of the recruitment profession – finding new ways to build relationships, adapting to the changing world of work, and embracing technology – will go a long way in helping to solve the problem.