Employment Market Trends – January 2021

Ange Connor

2021 has started with a bang in the recruitment industry! The good news is if your new years resolution is to look for a new career in 2021 there is certainly lots of recruiting happening across the Ballarat region. The bad news is, if you are an employer, you are most likely experiencing a candidate short market.

From what we are seeing in the market, good confidence has returned to many industry sectors and hiring activity is strong. Typically, we see a decline in recruitment over the Christmas and January period, as many take time out for that well deserved break however this year there was no lull. It was full steam ahead throughout the Christmas period, with the consensus being that after a tumultuous year, businesses wanted to be ready to start 2021 with momentum and to make the most of the opportunities presenting themselves. This is a great sign for Ballarat and the local economy to see how business confidence has returned relatively quickly.

However, on the flip side, it doesn’t appear that there is that same confidence in people wanting to change jobs. For all the talk of job losses and increased unemployment, we are yet to see an influx of people looking for work. This surprises many that I talk to. A common conversation I am having with people who are applying for jobs is that they anticipate that we are inundated with candidates applying for the job vacancies which is not the case in many situations. For some roles we receive the volume of applications but the skill, experience and qualification match isn’t aligning. For many sectors they are experiencing extreme candidate shortages and cannot fill positions.

We are seeing skills shortages across sectors such as Finance and Accounting; from finance officer level roles right through to management, Manufacturing trade based roles, Hospitality (it would appear many hospitality workers left the industry last year during the downturn), as well as Building and Construction trades just to name a few.

Normally this time of year is a busy period for people looking for work. They’ve returned from holidays, had a week or two back at work and decided that they don’t want to keep doing what they are doing for the year ahead, or their new years resolution was to change or take that next step in their career. We are yet to see that increase in activity of people looking to change jobs. Is it COVID related? I really am not sure of the answer to that however a common conversation with people is I’ll sit tight with where I am, my job is secure even though I’m not all that happy, I don’t want to be the last on and first off if we have another lockdown, I’d rather keep my leave accruals up my sleeve in case we have another year like last year. There is certainly hesitation and cautiousness after what we experienced in 2020.

The other thing we are yet to see is the influx of people looking for work in Ballarat who are moving to the regions. Land and property sales in Ballarat are booming based on the reports coming from real estate agents across Ballarat. We have heard in the media the increase in people wanting to get out of the city and move to regional areas. We are yet to see the influx of people out of Melbourne looking for work in Ballarat which makes me wonder are they moving to Ballarat and keeping their jobs but working from home/remotely? This will be an interesting one to watch.

What does this mean for you?

If you are thinking of changing jobs this year the good news is that it is what we call a candidates market. With skills shortages across many sectors candidates with good skills and experience have more negotiating power – you are in demand.

If you are a business looking to recruit the outlook is not so rosy. Finding talent will be challenging. Traditional online job boards are not attracting the calibre of talent you want and changing the way you recruit will be paramount. Hiring when talent is available as opposed to when you need it will become more of a focus. You’ll also probably need to compromise on skills or pay higher rates; that unicorn you are looking for is getting harder and harder to find so understanding the skills and experience you are willing to compromise on or can train up quickly will be key.

Offering flexible working arrangements is no longer an added bonus, it’s the norm. It’s a regular question we now get asked by people enquiring about job vacancies. If you are not negotiable on work from home / remote work you’ll miss out on talent. Your employee value proposition will be more important than ever as your potential new hires will have choice; they’ll be considering other options and it won’t all be just about the salary on offer.

2021 is set to be an interesting year in the recruitment sector!



Disclaimer: The material contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is intended to be, legal advice. If you wish to act based on the content of this publication, we recommend that you seek professional advice.

About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

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