Everywhere you look it’s impossible not to notice there is a severe candidate short market. Job ads on online job boards are going through the roof. Our social media feeds across all social media channels are flooded with posts from businesses trying to find new team members. The media is regularly reporting the doom and gloom stories of businesses not being able to find enough employees to be able to operate; some stating they’ll need to reduce their hours of operation because of staff shortages. The Great Resignation is the latest buzz phrase, with some tipping it will hit Australia in the coming weeks and others saying it will be early in the new year. Either way, if you are a business owner trying to find staff, it appears to be a pretty bleak outlook for the foreseeable future.

The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit industries throughout the pandemic and as a result, employees in the hospitality sector have left the industry in droves in search of new career paths offering more job security. You can’t really blame them can you, after 18 months of lockdowns and being stood down. Sadly, most of those employees are not coming back to the industry as they have gone on to find new career paths in new industries offering job security, career progression and better perks. A job in an essential services business is now on the wish list of job seekers.

However, the hospitality industry isn’t alone and every industry is experiencing the struggle to find new employees. What we do need to focus on is changing the narrative if we are to survive this candidate short market. It’s time to think differently. As much as we have all come to detest the word; it’s time to pivot again and pivot as we have never before because if your business relies on having employees to operate, something needs to change if you want to find talent.

The narratives that need to change:

We’ve been in and out of lockdown for 300 odd days, we are financially struggling, we don’t know how we will survive this if we can’t get staff, we are worried there will be more lockdowns and we will lose more staff.
I keep reading about the severe candidate short market and within those articles, there are business owners quoted saying statements like these. I completely get that has been the reality for many businesses. It has been heartbreaking to see businesses shut for so long and the financial burden it has created. However, if we are going to successfully attract people to our business or to the industry, this messaging needs to change. When there are so many job opportunities out there and prospective employees have a choice, which they have plenty of in this market, why would they choose to work for your business when this is the story they are hearing? While you can’t deny the reality of what your business has experienced, flipping the narrative and focusing on the fact you have weathered the pandemic, are still here and are back with a vengeance, is much more appealing and reassuring. Flip your story and focus on what you have to offer a prospective employee.

I can’t find anyone with experience, everyone with experience has left the industry. We can’t operate without experienced staff.
There are some roles that absolutely need a level of experience, but for many jobs, experience isn’t what we should be focusing on. In a candidate short market, you won’t get the experience you want, the ideal candidate isn’t sitting out there waiting for your vacancy to pop up. Once upon a time, we all didn’t have experience in the job we do now. I was once a mid-20’s job seeker with no experience at all in recruitment or human resources; I don’t even think I knew what recruitment or human resources really was when I accepted a job in the industry. But someone saw something in my transferable skills, my attributes and attitude, and gave me a go. I’m sure someone once gave you a go when you didn’t have previous experience, but you are successful at what you do now, right?

It’s time to change the narrative and stop looking for experience. For the hospitality industry, the experienced people have left the industry and they are not coming back, so it’s time to stop trying to find a needle in a haystack and look for the skills and attributes that are successful in your business, and train people in your systems and processes. Stop looking for the exact job title on a resume that matches the job you are trying to fill, instead focus on the person; the communication skills, their presentation, their motivation, their attitude.

The Perks – What’s in it for the employee? Umm…… a job! Award rates and some flexibility.
In a candidate short market, the candidate has the power, and the focus more than ever is on what you are going to offer in comparison to your competitor down the road. The gap between award rates and market rates continues to grow at a rapid pace. Flexibility is no longer a perk; it is a given, it’s the norm. Candidates want more than a job – they are inundated with job offers, so why should they pick yours? It doesn’t have to be because you are offering the highest pay rate, but you do have to be offering something and you need to be clear on the perks because that’s what you need to be promoting during the hiring process. Get creative, partner with other businesses, and come up with perks that you can offer that don’t necessarily have to cost you the world. It’s time to hone your unique employee value proposition. What can you offer that your competitor can’t?

What’s worked for us in the past when attracting talent probably won’t work for us in the future. It’s time to take a good look at the narrative you are sending to the market; to your future workforce. Are you attracting them to your business or are you repelling them without even realising?



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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