Employers told to fish from a diverse pool of candidates

Traditional isn't always best when it comes to recruiting in today's tight job market.

Traditional isn't always best when it comes to recruiting in today's tight job market. Photo: Getty

Employers are being told to widen their horizons when looking to add to their workforce – and this advice works in job seekers’ favour.

Employment services provider Asuria has listed ‘dos and don’ts’ to get people into jobs.

Some of the company’s advice to businesses included to look beyond applicants’ employment histories, tailor some aspects of jobs to individual employees, and widen the recruitment net to include under-represented demographics such as people with disabilities and members of Indigenous communities.

“In this challenging labour market, attracting and engaging motivated jobseekers is proving to be more complex than the traditional methods used by employers, recruiters, and managers in the past,” Asuria executive director of employer services Darren Otten said.

Aaron McEwan, Gartner vice-president of research and advisory, told TND while the unemployment rate has risen slightly, it will still be relatively low for a long time to come – meaning there will continue to be plenty of competition between businesses for workers.

As a result, he said employers need to “rethink” their traditionally strict criteria for applicants; a lack of formal qualifications and prior professional experience doesn’t necessarily mean someone isn’t suited to a job.

“Particularly in the area of digital talent, like software developers, the reality is that there’s a lot of people out there that are very capable [of] some software development and coding [but] might not have a qualification,” Mr McEwan said.

“Generally speaking, we tend to have a bit of a bias towards experience. But there really isn’t a lot of data that suggests that just because you’re experienced in something, that you’re going to be good at it.

“So often what [employers and hiring managers are] looking for are … transferable skills.”

Add to your job history

Employers are increasingly being asked to abandon the notion that multiple jobs on an applicant’s resume is a red flag.

Instead, a longer list of previous jobs is becoming the norm.

In the year ending February 2022, 9.5 per cent of all employed people in Australia changed jobs – representing a decade-high that was repeated in the 12 months to February 2023.

About one in five people employed in February had been in their job for less than one year; Gen Z is expected to be particularly mobile when it comes to employment, with a predicted average of 18 jobs across six industries in their lifetime.

Multiple jobs

Young workers will experience multiple jobs and industries in their lifetimes. Photo: Getty

Mr McEwan said higher pay packets and upskilling are a significant factor in high job mobility.

“There’s still a risk if you’ve gone from one job to another job every year, that might raise some red flags with recruiters,” he said.

“But the realities today are that we have low unemployment, but we also have low wage growth.

“And so for many employees, one of the only ways to increase their earning potential is to change jobs regularly … the other thing is that there’s very little in the way of job security these days … so the best way to ensure that you have job security is to maintain your employability by constantly upgrading your skills and experiences.”

Flexibility a necessity

As workplaces recover from pandemic restrictions, many bosses are keen to get their employees working under one roof again.

But Mr Otten advised employers should forget the one-size-fits-all employee model, and embrace flexible work options.

“When it comes to employees, what matters is whether they can get the job done, not how and when they get it done,” he said.

“The world is changing fast, and the Monday to Friday, nine-to-five is already beginning to be replaced with a greater ability for employers to embrace flexible working without compromising on productivity.

“Why try to hold back the tide of flexible working when you can ride the wave instead?”

Mr McEwan said there is a wide range of employment models to choose from including hybrid work, work-from-home and work-from-anywhere models.

These models also open up jobs to a wider range of demographics.

Overlooked demographics

Mr Otten said people with disability are the “single most extensive untapped resource in Australia’s labour market”; compared to just one in five people without disability, almost half of working-age people with disabilities are unemployed.

He said Indigenous job seekers are also often overlooked, and hiring from the pool of Indigenous candidates could result in significant economic gains for individuals being employed, along with their families and wider communities.

Mc McEwan said flexible working options are key to making jobs accessible to these under-used demographics.

“Just think about Indigenous employees; if you don’t have to leave your community … to take on a leadership role for a company that might be based in Sydney, that’s a huge incentive,” he said.

“Same goes for people with disabilities, women, caregivers – there’s huge opportunity to broaden that perspective.

“So those companies that have got really restrictive office mandates and are thinking, ‘Well, how do we tap into a much bigger employment pool?’ If you’re not restricted by location, all of a sudden your talent pools become significantly larger.”

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.