If you are a corporate hiring manager, recruiter or skilled job seeker, you will have noticed that the demand for professional talent feels like it is reaching a frenzy point out there in job-land. As a large corporate recruitment agency, we are seeing a rapid spread of symptoms such as sign-on bonuses, an increase in head-hunting from Australia, sharp salary and contractor rate demands, roles remaining unfilled for longer, greater flexibility when it comes to job description matching, longer start-date leads times – and more!
You could be forgiven for envisaging a talent shortage abyss, with tumbleweeds rolling down Lambton Quay and Queen St. This will never happen, and we have everything we need to ensure a talent-rich, productive Kiwi workforce in the future. The challenge is how quickly we can adapt.
Let’s stop calling it a talent shortage – because we have plenty of talent. We lack SKILLS.
Mega-trends such as automation, digitisation, disruption and transformation are certainly stripping out the homogenous job from the market – you will notice that when you buy a burger from a McDonald’s kiosk, use the self-checkout at a supermarket, shop online, order an Uber, book a flight, book an Airbnb or sit in on (another) Zoom meeting.
It is the jobs behind these mega-trends that are driving the professional skills demand. This is because they are new jobs, requiring new skillsets, and driven by the fact that we are working, shopping, communicating and doing almost everything differently in life. The skills we need now include cultural competence, innovation, analysis, negotiation, data skills and robotic interaction, as well as competence in a range of new technologies that sound like items from your local greengrocer!
Some organisations are well prepared for this change, which has been on the horizon for many years. Some are not, lurching into expensive knee-jerk reactions that are not sustainable and are, sadly, feeding the frenzy.
With legislative changes looming (such as increased sick leave) and increased expectation from workers for work/life balance, some traditional organisations are getting backed into an expensive skills-scant corner.
Instead, let’s think about innovative re-training, adopt authentic long-term workforce planning (for years, not months, ahead), lose the obsession with permanent recruitment and embrace gig workers. The government has a huge role to play here by enabling our educators to drive the necessary curriculum change. This includes ensuring easy access to learning for Kiwis to become part of tomorrows highly skilled and prosperous workforce.
How are you dealing with the challenges of today’s market? Do you have ideas for how we can create a more robust, sustainable talent pool? I’d love to hear what you think. And if you need help with finding skilled talent for your team, please don’t hesitate to reach out.