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Human Resources

October - December 2015

Overall business conditions are improving and business confidence is expected to increase this quarter, which is helping to fuel a more positive market. In addition, HR vacancy activity has increased as organisations realise the true value of an effective HR division.

This is perhaps most obvious in New South Wales, where new jobs have been created as a result of changes to team structures and candidates are now in shorter supply.

SMEs experiencing growth are also fuelling job creation.

Both temporary and permanent HR jobs are available. While some locations prefer permanent hires, in Victoria there is a strong preference to trial a candidate in a temporary role.

Employers are increasingly asking for candidates with like-for-like industry experience. This has not been a focus in the past year, however now employers are requesting similar industry backgrounds. For example, an FMCG organisation will only want to interview candidates with FMCG industry experience.

In addition, cultural fit has become a priority for hiring employers, while soft skills are now also a key influencer in a recruitment decision.

In other trends professional services organisations, including legal and financial services firms, are using a set list of questions in interviews and also video recording interviews. While this can help compare candidates and aid in screening, it can also put off candidates and make the organisation seem impersonal.

We are seeing more organisations of all sizes large and small, listed and non-listed, bolstering their internal recruitment teams. This has predominately been through temporary assignments to help with an overload of hiring activity.

In the public sector, the focus is on maintaining a blended workforce consisting of casual, part time, contingent and labour hire resources. This should keep the contract market busy over the next 12 months. So too will the need from many Government agencies to deliver policy and program outcomes ahead of the 2016 election. 

Skills in demand

In terms of skills in demand for the October to December 2015 quarter, we’re seeing high demand for HR Advisors in teams that were lean but are now expanding. Employers look for proactive candidates who can provide generalist HR support. There is also an increasing demand for creative and experienced candidates.

HR advisory and coaching has also become a focus in a lot of organisations. Such employers typically offer 12-month fixed-term contracts and look for candidates with performance management expertise, or those who can develop leadership capability.

HR Managers at the mid level are sought to support the business on a commercial level but also to support operationally. Demand is most notable in the SME sector, where businesses are experiencing growth and need candidates who can provide management coaching.

Strategic HR Business Partners with strong change experience are in high demand. These professionals were the first to be made redundant, so their recruitment on a permanent basis as organisations backfill prior redundancies is a positive sign of business optimism. We are also seeing new jobs created as a result of changes to team structures, and as organisations place greater focus on the value of this discipline.

HR Generalists are needed in the Northern Territory, since large organisations typically have their HR teams interstate. This leads to higher demand for HR Generalists rather than specialists.

IR/ER specialists are another area of demand since there are a large number of EBA's up for negotiation. Organisations are also taking a proactive approach to protecting the company from possible legal action.

Organisational Development and Change professionals are also needed as there is a new emphasis back on leadership development and succession.

L&D Consultants are sought too given the current focus on business improvements and up-skilling staff.

Recruiters are also needed. Blue collar Recruiters are sought in response to an increase in construction and facilities management projects, while contract recruiters are also sought since this is a high turnover role and employers are therefore not willing to invest in a permanent hire. Healthcare recruiters are also sought by aged care and allied health providers that are increasing their workforce.

Candidate trends

In terms of candidate trends, job seekers are more selective, especially in New South Wales at the mid level. They are aware that the market is becoming more active and they are focused on a company’s values and culture as well as the salary package on offer.

Flexibility is also important. Candidates might be looking for part-time work or the ability to start early and leave early. They are prepared to work hard, but appreciate organisations that are accommodating and consider their personal commitments outside work.

Senior candidates often have to reassess their salary expectations since the demand is highest at the mid rather than senior level.

Public sector candidates value personal relationships. They want to talk to a recruiter in order to maintain a sense of mobility in a sector where direct applications can be a long and drawn out process.

Finally, we’re seeing more HR professionals creating comprehensive LinkedIn profiles. They are also focusing on updating their systems skills. For example, recruiters will ensure they have good Taleo or PageUp skills while HR Generalists will work on their SAP or HRIS skills.


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