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Why it’s a great time to look for a new job

Colleagues discussing looking for a new job


2020 is the year many job candidates were happy to forget. However, as our new Hays Salary Guide FY21/22 shows, we have turned a corner and job vacancies are on the rise. In welcome news, employers are becoming increasingly optimistic. Of the close to 3,500 employers we spoke to for our guide, almost three-quarters (74%) say permanent staffing levels are either above or equal to their pre-COVID-19 point. 

In addition, almost one-half (47%) intend to increase their permanent headcount in the year ahead and 15% will increase their use of temporary or contract staff. However, while employers have designs on expanding their workforces, the number of job candidates presently applying for jobs is down.

Why are candidate-to-job ratios down? 

The COVID-19 pandemic forced a lot of change on us all in a relatively short space of time. Understandably, it sparked a mindset shift amongst many employees, who prioritised job security above all else.

Today, many skilled professionals are still prioritising existing job security above new job opportunities. However, if you’re a potential job candidate, you have strong grounds to feel more emboldened. 

Job opportunities are available 

Of the employers we spoke to for this year’s salary guide, 63% said they have returned to growth or rapid growth. 72% say business activity will increase over the next 12 months. 

Meanwhile, 67% of employers are optimistic about the wider economic climate and the employment opportunities it may create in the next two to five years. No wonder they are reinvesting in headcount growth and looking for new talent to return to, or cement, growth.

Skills shortages are emerging

With the Australian and New Zealand markets weathering the COVID-19 storm better than anticipated, in some instances and industries demand for skills to fuel growth has never been higher. 

In fact, employers recognise there is now a talent shortage. 64% say skills shortages will impact the effective operation of their organisation or department – in either a significant or minor way – in the next 12 months.

It’s time to revitalise your career 

If 2020 was about career preservation, now is a great time for career revitalisation. To help you take advantage of current opportunities and find your next career opportunity in this candidate’s job market, we suggest you: 

1. Put your CV to work

A proactive way to start looking for a new job is to get your CV into the right hands. The best place to start is to share your CV, so we can bring new opportunities to you directly.

But firstly, make sure you create a winning CV. If it’s been some time since you last updated your CV, you can download our free CV template to ensure you include all the relevant information employers want to see.

Even if you don’t plan to look for a new job immediately, it’s advisable to take some time to update your CV regularly. As we know from the past 12 months, a lot can happen in a year. It’s a good habit, therefore, to update your CV at least once per year to ensure it is relevant for the roles you are applying to.

Remember, treat the top half of your first CV page as prime real estate for impressing recruiters and employers. Don’t forget to provide concise and clear information. Keep the design clean and simple and ensure you include the most pertinent details about your most relevant achievements.

2. Reset career goals

For many professionals, 2020 was more about keeping careers together than taking them forward. However, as the Great COVID Career Reset indicates, 2021 is another matter. This survey of over 700 women found that the vast majority are rethinking what matters in their careers.

If the pandemic has sparked you to rethink your career, you can restore or redesign your plans with our Career Goal Planner. This resource is designed to help advance your thinking about your ultimate career goal and the key objectives you need to meet along the way to reach it.

3. Plan your job search

Maybe you’ve already decided you want a new job. Maybe you have the perfect job in mind. Having a plan in place to guide your job search activity is a big advantage.

Rather than applying for any and every job, we recommend you first reflect on your career aspirations. Think in detail about your ideal role. Then plan your weekly job search schedule in a series of goals and actions. Make sure you commit to your job search plan. As part of your strategy, be prepared to search for some time, but trust in your plan. Remember that it can take time to find a suitable job. 

4. Upskill to make your career reset successful

The pandemic has renewed attention on upskilling. The World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report estimates that 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025. 

Upskilling takes many forms. From undertaking short-term training to attending free virtual conferences, working with a mentor or asking for new challenges at work, there are various ways you can advance your skills

However, before you decide on your upskilling plan, pay due attention to how you want to upskill and why you want to upskill. Take a moment to reflect carefully on the outcomes you want from upskilling. Then, you can determine the best form of upskilling to undertake. 

5. Soft skills matter

Teamwork, problem solving and communication are some of the top soft skills organisations value in candidates today. They’re indicative of your potential to collaborate with colleagues and stakeholders to achieve shared goals.

A good question to ask yourself as you prepare for your job search is: When did I last take active steps to consciously develop my soft skills?

We know that soft skills are in demand. As previously noted, research from Deloitte Access Economics shows soft skill-focused occupations are likely to comprise two-thirds of all jobs by 2030.

Investing time into developing your soft skills in the workplace can completely transform the way you are received at work, creating career opportunities that were previously unattainable.

So, make sure you highlight your soft skills in your CV. In an interview, share concrete examples of scenarios where these skills enabled you to make an important difference in your organisation.

6. Evidence your skills

If you’re ready to seek new job opportunities, take stock of how well you showcase your skills, in both your CV and in a job interview. Strengthen your employability by underscoring quantifiable examples of how you have incorporated your key skills at work to benefit your employer.

We know, from filling hundreds of job vacancies every day, how highly employers value proven performers. If you are struggling to come up with concrete facts to prove your skills, our list of 28 examples of quantifiable evidence for your CV can help. These examples can be used effectively in a job interview, too, to prove your skills.  

The time may be right to change jobs

As you can see, the time may be just right to consider an external move to advance your career progression. To explore your options, search our current jobs

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 and insights relevant to your job and career path. 

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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