How to win talent in Australia’s most competitive industries

Australia’s job market is currently overflowing with opportunities with demand for workers higher than it’s been in decades. Where in pre-covid days businesses may have enjoyed a surplus of candidates to choose from, today the power has shifted and it’s the job seekers who now have the choice. Post-election, the supply of workers should start to increase, but staff shortages will likely continue to be an issue in many industries and a serious challenge for Australia’s three biggest hiring industries: Trades & Services, Healthcare & Medical, and Hospitality & Tourism.

SEEK recently surveyed over 11,500 Australians and used the resulting data in its Laws of Attraction report. In order, the biggest drivers (i.e. motivations) when considering a role in the ‘big three’ hiring industries are: work-life balance, compensation and career development. 

The less important drivers varied among industries. 

Trades & Services workers are also motivated by, in order, job security and market position as well as job location. For Healthcare & Medical employees and Hospitality & Tourism workers, job location and organisation (i.e. the culture of an organisation) were the fourth and fifth most important drivers.

Has the pandemic changed drivers?

“The lockdowns were unprecedented, but they didn’t radically change what people want from a job,” SEEK research manager Caroline North says. 

However, Australians are now putting more weight on work-life balance. 

“The pandemic has demonstrated flexible working arrangements are doable and many of us don’t want to go back to the pre-pandemic arrangements,” North says. 

White-collar workers don’t want to return to commuting to an office five days a week. While working from home isn’t an option for most blue-collar and pink-collar workers, they want more flexible working conditions. 

“The electrician may no longer want to do lots of overtime,” North says. “The nurse may want to fit their shifts around child caring responsibilities. And the uni student who works as a barista may want time off during their exams.”   

To explore the key drivers of attraction in your industry, visit SEEK’s Laws of Attraction.

A frontline report

Kirsty Garrett, CEO of telehealth business Doctors on Demand, says the SEEK data reflects her recent workplace experiences. “Pre-pandemic, our tech staff were full time in the office; now we generally get them to come in one day a week,” she says. “My peers who want to go back to the old way of doing things will end up disappointed. Flexible working arrangements, and a shift to tracking the output of employees rather than the hours they clock up, are here to stay.”

How to use SEEK’s data to clarify your Employee Value Proposition   

“If you’re running a construction business, restaurant or hospital, the challenge you currently have probably isn’t around a lack of work or customers,” North says. “It’s a lack of staff. For organisations looking to hire in the current climate, my best advice is to turn your attention to refining your Employee Value Proposition. This essentially means understanding and communicating your unique offering for potential employees” 

Hidden persuaders 

Employers can leverage SEEK’s Laws of Attraction interactive data portal to identify less obvious drivers and then use that information to craft compelling EVPs.

Garrett confesses that Doctors on Demand’s EVP used to be suboptimal because its Gen X leaders didn’t realise entry-level employees thought differently. 

“When I started working, the deal was you got a salary and possibly some career-development opportunities, but that was it,” Garrett says. “If you wanted to, for example, form social bonds with your colleagues, you were expected to do it on your own time. I’ve discovered people in their twenties don’t have my generation’s rigid boundaries between their work and their social life. They expect there to be regular social gatherings and beer or wine in the fridge.”      

It’s not just generational blind spots that can wrongfoot employers. 

“People who work standard business hours or who automatically receive a car spot as part of their remuneration package, such as CEOs and HR Directors, generally don’t see on-site parking as an important driver,” North says. “Yet our survey revealed healthcare workers really cared about it.” 

Upon reflection, this makes sense — shift workers want nearby, secure parking. But employers who aren’t aware of these data-driven insights can’t benefit from them. 

“Once they have a more comprehensive portrait of job seekers’ motivations, there’s usually low-hanging fruit employers can pick,” North says. “It doesn’t cost a hospital anything to highlight it provides staff parking. But adding that one detail into job ads could result in interest from lots more top talent.”