Business Support Market Update

As Inspire HQ’s dedicated Business Support specialist, I’m loving recruiting back in the space where my own career began and recruiting in the industry that I’ve worked in for many years. I recently reconnected with a former candidate who after 11 years in her role had decided to look at other opportunities. She started her email with “I hope you remember me, you placed me in my role at Company XYZ 11 years ago…”. Not only did I remember her (my friends will vouch for my memory!) I was so pleased that she had such a long tenure in the role I’d assisted her to secure. I was also genuinely happy that she’d reached out to me again as her recruiter of choice. Building great workplaces is what I’m passionate about and as we enter the third month of 2019, I thought I’d share with you some of the current trends I’m seeing in the Business Support recruitment market.

With the current low unemployment rate, it certainly is a candidate driven market and businesses are feeling the pinch across all industries, Business Support included. Whether you are looking for a new Receptionist, Administrator or Executive Assistant, I often think that when we talk about the market being “candidate tight”, Business Support can often be overlooked as an industry affected by skill shortages. Whether it be the perception that “anyone can pick up a phone” or the role itself isn’t deemed as business critical as others, when the ideal candidate can’t be found sometimes the “near enough is good enough” candidate is offered the job.  Without going into the details, we all know how this can play out and the damaging effects it can have on a business.  Currently we are seeing skill shortages in Finance particularly experienced Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable candidates. We have recently had success in uncovering excellent candidates that were not actively applying for jobs through a variety of search techniques.

As recruiters we certainly need to put our creative hats on to find candidates and tap into the passive candidate market.  A passive candidate is a candidate who is not actively applying for jobs but would happily consider a better offer. We all know someone who says they’re happy in their job but also still reads the employment section in Saturday’s paper or has a SEEK job alert set up right? As recruiters, our job is to identify the top talent in the market and to understand their main motivators to consider another opportunity and to reach out when the time is right. It’s not a quick fix solution and takes an investment of time to build these relationships.

With the current market trends, we also need to challenge what has been done historically to recruit a position. If it’s a permanent full-time role, does it have to be? Could it be job shared? Could it still be a 5-day role but shorter hours? Is the salary level in line with what the market is paying? By exploring these options, you will also widen the net to the type of candidates you will be able to consider. I receive numerous calls every week from experienced Business Support candidates who are looking to re-enter the workforce after having children. Yes, they may have been out of the workforce for a period of time, but they also bring with them a wealth of experience (often in more senior roles) but are looking for an opportunity to return to work whilst affording them work/life balance. Whilst it may be a small investment to refresh some IT skills, those inherent qualities of using their initiative, multi-tasking and having a genuine willingness to assist are harder to find. One way to also lessen the risk is to consider the role a temp to perm scenario that will allow both parties an opportunity to see if the role and the company is right for them.

Speaking of temp recruitment, we are seeing an increase in the number of clients in the Ballarat market looking to engage temporary staff to fill their business requirements. Whilst I still see differences to the Melbourne market which often has shorter assignments (it was not uncommon for me to place the same temp in 4 different assignments in one week!), the Ballarat market trends we are currently seeing are temps being utilised for leave coverage (both short and long term), specific project work or when businesses are restructuring and the future is unknown.  Educating candidates on temping is a high priority for me as it’s often the untapped job market in my opinion. I always tell my candidates that good people are hard to find and it’s an excellent opportunity to continue to build on your experience, remain in employment and put your best foot forward as you never know what door it may open!

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