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47% of employers will expand headcount – are you one of them?

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Australia has powered out of last year’s downturn in a stronger position than anyone could have anticipated back in mid-2020. 

Today, employment growth is positive. In fact, almost three-quarters (74%) of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 point. 

New jobs are being added daily, too. According to our newly released Hays Salary Guide FY21/22, 47% of employers intend to increase their permanent headcount over the next 12 months. 15% will increase their use of temporaries or contractors. 

Clearly, Australia has turned a corner and employers are feeling increasingly optimistic. Fiscal stimulus and control of the spread of COVID-19 has helped to create a jobs market recovery and expansion, with employers reinvesting in headcount growth.

Supply and demand tips in favour of candidates

With employers intending to expand their workforce, in some areas the demand for skills now exceeds supply. In fact, we’re now in the midst of a jobseekers’ market. 

Add border closures, which severely limit the supply of skilled professionals into the country, and the supply and demand imbalance has tipped in favour of candidates.

As a result, vacancies remain open for longer as employers compete for top talent. 

Furthermore, in the next 12 months 64% of employers say skills shortages will impact the effective operation of their organisation or department, either in a significant or minor way. 

Where will jobs growth be? 

There certainly seems to be enough momentum for continued jobs growth, with employers investing in their future. They’re focused on returning to, or cementing, growth and gaining a competitive edge. They’re adding new skills to their team to build a resilient, digital and agile workforce.

But not all industries and sectors will see jobs growth at similar levels. While some industries have roared back, others are more cautiously optimistic in their expansion plans. 

In the wake of the pandemic, the life sciences industry has a huge need for staff. With the industry continuing to fight coronavirus, 61% of life sciences employers intend to increase permanent staff levels over the coming year. 

Following close behind is the legal industry, where 59% of employers will add to their permanent headcount. Permanent vacancy growth is also high in contact centres (58%), technology (57%) and both engineering and human resources (56%).

For hiring intentions in your industry or sector, read the full list below or tap through to the specialism most relevant to you: 

Employment projections for the next 12 months

Accountancy & Finance

  • 76% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 42% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 11% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Architecture

  • 69% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 54% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 8% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Banking

  • 78% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 45% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 8% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Construction

  • 72% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 54% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 19% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Contact Centres

  • 58% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 58% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 8% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Defence

  • 83% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 50% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 50% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Education

  • 65% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 32% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 8% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Energy

  • 57% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 48% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 21% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Engineering

  • 69% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 56% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 18% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Executive

  • 76% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 36% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 8% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Facilities Management

  • 63% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 39% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 12% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Healthcare

  • 82% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 50% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 14% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Human Resources

  • 75% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 56% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 16% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Insurance

  • 77% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 54% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 20% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Legal

  • 77% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 59% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 4% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Life Sciences

  • 86% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 61% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 11% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Logistics

  • 71% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 39% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 16% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Manufacturing & Operations

  • 79% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 37% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 12% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Marketing & Digital

  • 67% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 37% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 11% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Mining

  • 72% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 46% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 23% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Office Support

  • 71% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 43% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 42% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Policy & Strategy

  • 82% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 36% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 24% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Procurement

  • 78% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 35% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 17% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Property

  • 68% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 41% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 5% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Retail

  • 63% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 52% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 18% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Sales

  • 74% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 47% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 15% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Technology

  • 77% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 57% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 20% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

Trades & Labour

  • 62% of employers say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 level
  • 33% will increase permanent headcount in the year ahead
  • 14% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff

How to attract top talent in a competitive market

In a competitive market, it can be a challenge to attract the skills and people you need. Following are a few ideas to help you get started. For more, please reach out to your local recruiter to discuss, in confidence, candidate attraction strategies for your specific industry. 

1. Make workforce planning a strategic priority

Planning ahead can help avoid widening skills gaps in the future. Take the time to fully understand your skills requirements, conduct a skills gap analysis and put in place the most effective short and long-term strategies.

2. Invest in your employer brand

When was the last time you reviewed your employer branding? Building a strong employer brand allows you to effectively compete for candidates in a skills-short market. 

An employer brand clearly communicates to prospective employees why they should work for your organisation. It should also include any flexible working, training and career progression opportunities you have available, as these are important considerations for professionals today.

3. Make use of temporary workers to alleviate the pressure

Temporary or contract workers need not only be used when a certain skillset is required on a project or to meet peaks in demand. 

You can consider using their skills to remove some pressure on existing staff until a new permanent team member can be sourced. This helps to ensure targets are met and growth plans realised, while improving the job satisfaction of your existing permanent employees.

4. Upskill existing staff

Whether investing in existing staff to give them additional skills or completely retraining people from other departments, upskilling your own employees is a good way to overcome skills shortages. 

5. Review your salary and benefits package

It goes without saying that you should ensure you are offering candidates a competitive salary and benefits package if you want to attract the best staff. 

Download the Hays Salary Guide

Our annual Hays Salary Guide FY21/22  is based on a survey of close to 3,500 organisations and more than 3,800 skilled professionals. Download your copy to access typical salaries, benefits and insights relevant to your organisation. 


About this author

Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director, began working at Hays in 1993 and since then he has held a variety of consulting and management roles across the business. In 2004 he was appointed to the Hays Board of Directors. He was made Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand in 2012.

Prior to joining Hays, he had a background in human resource management and marketing, and has formal qualifications in Psychology.

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