I’m here with insights for Australian businesses on 29 April 2021.
In today’s briefing for Tenfold clients and Australian business owners, I’m talking about the two-speed labour market and one of the approaches we’re using to give Tenfold clients the leading edge. I also have a short update on Government funding.
Australia’s Tight Labour Market Challenges
With the end of JobKeeper in March, the Australian Treasury estimates that an extra 100,000 to 150,000 people will end up unemployed and on the JobSeeker program.
Yet, we’re seeing many of our clients get only minimal applications for jobs they have advertised, and they are struggling to fill positions. One client remarked the other day, “There are more ads on Seek for our industry than I’ve ever seen in the last 20 years”. Let me explain what is going on in the labour market in Australia:
Two classes of workers: highly skilled and the low skilled
During 2020 and the COVID-19 lockdowns it was predominantly low skilled and unskilled workers who lost their jobs. Many people in hospitality and the fitness industry were let go due to the forced closure of businesses. But there were also many low skilled roles in other industry sectors that business owners and managers found weren’t really required. Some people were let go, while others had their hours reduced as face-to-face client interactions disappeared. In many cases, the role wasn’t re-filled when the incumbent person left.
What we are seeing is a two-speed labour market
High skill labour is in even greater demand than before as economic activity picks up and, in some industries, starts to boom.
Demand for low skilled labour is not bouncing back quickly. In some cases, low skilled workers are flush with extra funds from JobKeeper, so their need for work isn’t as great as it was before 2020.
What this means for Tenfold clients and Australian businesses in 2021
While it is difficult to recruit highly skilled labour at the moment, it is going to get even more difficult as the year progresses. When I talk about high skilled labour, I mean roles like computer programmers, plumbers, salespeople, architects, and landscapers to name a few occupations. Recruitment is tougher for Tenfold clients because we typically look to only employ the top 20% of candidates in an industry, people with not only the skills but also the right attitude.
This current labour market is similar to the 2007 labour market – it’s highly competitive with not many good candidates – so I encourage you to listen to and work with your coach to think outside the box.
See, at any point in time there is typically only 5% of the labour force actively looking for a job. These people have an alert setup on Seek and are checking and applying for jobs regularly. But in general, there is around 20% of the labour market that would consider switching jobs if the right opportunity presented itself. But they aren’t actively looking. Our job is to find them.
One of the major differences between 2007 and 2021 is LinkedIn. The vast majority of the white-collar workforce now have a LinkedIn profile. There are also many people in the blue-collar workforce who have setup a LinkedIn profile or are on one of the other social media platforms. At Tenfold we’re ahead of the curve and have been working with many of our clients since late 2020 to tap into good quality candidates via LinkedIn. By expanding your LinkedIn networks and targeting quality contacts, you can link up candidates that might never have heard of your business. By promoting the roles you have available and sharing them extensively through your team, clients, and suppliers, you can reach candidates that would never have been aware of the role you’re offering.
This method does take time and is often best delegated once you have a good handle on what to do, but it’s significantly cheaper than using a recruitment agency. This approach is producing good results for many of our business coaching clients and is giving them the edge they need in this tight labour market.
Keep talking to your business coach about these and other ideas that we’re sharing within the Tenfold team. 2021 is likely to be the year when businesses like ours are more focused on marketing to prospective employees than prospective clients.
Update on government COVID funding
In other news, some businesses that didn’t receive government COVID support funding during 2020 due to minor errors in their application may be eligible to reapply. At Tenfold Business Coaching we actively pushed for our clients to receive every dollar they were entitled to, in many instances finding ways to meet the eligibility criteria (sometimes using options that a couple of accountants hadn’t been aware of).
We’ll look out for further announcements on the reapplication criteria and work with clients who may be eligible.
Ashley Thomson B.Eng. (Hons), Grad. Dip. Mgmt, MEI
Tenfold Business Coaching