The events of the past 18 months have had major ramifications for the Sydney Data and Analytics recruitment landscape, and it’s fair to say that it looks a lot different than it did a year ago. In our work partnering with organisations across the Data and Analytics space, we are often asked one question: What is happening in the job market right now?

To help you make informed business decisions over the coming months, here are some of the key factors and trends that are shaping the current market.

A Shortage of Candidates

With COVID-19 still having huge implications for most industries across Australia (Data and Analytics being no exception), the uncertainty that remains from 2020 has contributed to a major talent shortage. Many candidates are hesitant to move, with A Shortage of Candidatesthe perceived security of their current roles proving to be more appealing than the assumed risk of moving to a new job. At the same time, border restrictions have stopped the influx of overseas talent, which many large consulting firms would traditionally lean on to fill their project teams.

This talent shortage has resulted in a number of notable consequences:

  • People who are aware of the growing gap between talent supply and demand are taking the opportunity to seek significantly higher salaries than what they are currently on.
  • Advertising campaigns are returning far fewer responses, and headhunting has become more prevalent as a result.
  • Headhunting is being made more difficult for roles that offer salaries in line with current market rates, which are not enough to tempt people to move.
  • Companies that typically relied on overseas talent have been forced to turn their attention to local candidates, but some are continuing to offer below-market rates.

A Push for Retention

As it becomes increasingly difficult to fill talent gaps, most organisations are taking drastic measures to retain their current staff. Some of the most common retention measures we are seeing include:

  • Providing salary increases and offering more benefits to employees.
  • Promptly making generous counteroffers to top performers who hand in their notice.
  • Implementing work from home policies that are standardised across the business and accessible to all staff.
  • Providing long-term contract extensions around two months in advance of end dates to encourage contractors to stay on (or gain additional time to find a replacement if they don’t accept).

Contractors Bridging the Gap

Given that permanent talent can be difficult to come by in the present environment, one short-term strategy I would highly recommend is bringing on contractors to fill the essential gaps.Contractors Bridging the Gap In this instance contractors are merely a band-aid, but one that will help buy the time needed for long-term talent.

It is worthwhile being open to considering if the contractors you have on board would be interested in converting to permanent positions, and then bringing on additional contractors to bridge the next gap. It may also be helpful to request longer notice periods (four weeks) for new contractors, but keep in mind that most will not want to commit to this due to the short notice of typical contracting opportunities.

Standardising Work from Home Policies

A very large percentage of the candidates we’ve been speaking with, especially in the digital space, are immediately uninterested in being put forward to organisations that lack a standardised working from home policy. COVID-19 has made this essential to any company looking to attract top talent!

Employers should seriously consider standardising a working from home policy that is available to all staff, along with implementing controls around that to enable management to monitor performance remotely. For larger organisations, however, this is a big task, and a lot of analysis would need to go into how to implement and deploy this.

The Importance of Proactivity

These days, it’s crucial for companies to go to market for a new hire almost immediately after an employee hands in their notice. Every day a person isn’t on-site doing their job, it’s another day someone else has to do it, which means more stress for them and a higher chance that further staff turnover will result. The roll-on effect of this can be devastating to a company!

Being proactive about filling talent gaps is key. If you are unable to go to a recruitment agency immediately, I would suggest (if the notice period is four weeks) to spend one week searching internally, then send the vacancy to an agency. For anything less than three weeks, go straight to an agency.

If you like more market insight or to discuss any of the above points further, feel free to reach out to me. And for help with filling your next vacancy, get in touch with our team of Sydney Data and Analytics recruitment specialists today.