Today’s Data recruitment market looks very different than it did six months ago. A perfect storm of events, exacerbated by COVID-19, have transformed the landscape as we know it. Digital transformation is abounding, projects that were previously put on the backburner have all restarted, more people want to work from home than ever and hiring activity has spiked dramatically.
So, in this competitive and rapidly accelerating market, how can employers combat the challenges and ensure they continue to secure the skilled Data talent they need?
The State of the Data Recruitment Market
As we all know, a lot has happened over the past year, and in many ways, the employment market will never be the same. Due to the uncertainty in the initial period of COVID-19, organisations were forced to put projects on hold, reduce headcounts and transition employees to working from home. As the business landscape has gradually regained a semblance of normality and projects have resumed, companies that now need to grow their workforces, many of which haven’t hired in over a year, are faced with recruiting in a drastically altered job market.
There are several factors currently combining to restrict the pool of available talent. As a result of the paradigm shifts towards remote working and digital transformation (which were accelerated by COVID-19), the demand for Cloud and Data talent is huge, particularly for junior roles that were previously supplied by largely overseas talent. Not only is the competition for local talent fierce, but these people are also being recruited by companies from outside Australia (such as the USA) who are capitalising on cost-saving opportunities by employing Australian contractors remotely, sometimes at lower rates than contractors in the business’ own country.
At the same time, the expectations of candidates have changed, too. The rise in remote work, a renewed focus on work/life balance and the migration of the workforce away from major cities for a better lifestyle have made people more reluctant to accept long commutes, which has the potential to further narrow the talent pools businesses can draw from if they do not offer flexibility. Consequently, organisations now have a very small window of opportunity to hire, being required to not only move quickly and be decisive to secure skilled talent, but offer the right location and/or level of flexibility to make a role attractive to these sought-after candidates.
Offering a “Good Deal” to Secure Skilled Talent
While it’s true that we saw increased availability of talent at the peak of COVID-19, the market has now flipped on its head, and employers will need to adapt and take an entirely different approach to the one they did last year if they are to be successful. Securing the talent you need in this competitive environment comes down to offering the right “deal.”
What this looks like will vary depending on the business, the availability of the specific skillset and the requirements of the candidate, however, keep in mind that pay (while still important) is no longer the chief factor in making a role appealing.
When it comes to flexibility, we are seeing organisations incorporate this in a variety of ways. For example, some companies allow employees to work from home three days a week and in the office for two, while others are primarily remote and only require their team to meet in person once a quarter. There is no one-size-fits-all arrangement, but the key is to find a way to facilitate the flexibility candidates want while still supporting the requirements of your business.
Another aspect of flexibility to consider is around the role criteria. In such a candidate-short market, being open to less experienced but high-potential candidates and providing training where needed is an effective way to access quality talent with hard-to-find skillsets.
Don’t forget that the hiring process itself is also very important – great people will not remain on the market for long, so being as efficient as possible and making quick decisions will be vital for securing your first choice. Sometimes that first choice will be your only choice, so waiting to develop an interview shortlist can be a self-defeating strategy.
The Value of a Recruitment Partner
With recruitment taking significantly longer due to the scarcity of talent, a small window of opportunity to hire and the necessity of quick decision making, partnering with a specialist recruiter who you can trust to find you the right people have never been more critical.
When you have to conduct multiple rounds of interviews and carry out tests (e.g. providing data that the candidate must take home and present on the following day), this can drastically slow down the hiring process, and even then you cannot build a clear enough picture to guarantee that the person you hire will be the right fit. Likewise, strong candidates are often not answering job ads, with many being headhunted before they even hit the market. Good recruiters have vast networks within your sector and actively built pools of tried and tested professionals, including both active and passive talent.
At Continuum, for example, we have spent over 15 years cultivating relationships with some of the best people in the market, from Business Analysts and Data Engineers to Solutions Architects. When we put forward a candidate for a role, we are not submitting an unknown quantity – we have taken the time to not only understand what our candidates want and what will induce them to accept a role, but also how they have performed in previous roles and the experiences of past employers.
Because of this reach and depth of industry experience, working with the right recruiter gives you a major advantage over other employers in the market. The key, however, is to build an enduring relationship that is founded on trust and transparency. Phil Martin, our Sales Director & Senior Account Manager, has one client with which he has placed more than 150 candidates over the years – this is something that doesn’t happen without trust, and illustrates the long-term value that a partnership of this kind can add to a business.
Time kills all deals, so the best thing you can do to access top talent in this market is to engage well with both your recruitment partner and potential recruits to speed up your time to hire. With recruiters and candidates alike putting effort into multiple recruitment processes, it’s important to get the message out that your opportunity is worth their effort.
What trends have you noticed in the Data recruitment market recently? We’d love to know what your experience has been like – feel free to share your thoughts or reach out for more market insights.