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This month the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) released its 2010/11 Financial Year summary of what’s going on around the country with respect to the shortage of skills.   

It makes for fascinating reading.   

Here’s the most relevant and interesting information I extracted from that document and another DEEWR report:     
The past 12 months:    

1.      Employers experienced greater difficulty recruiting skilled workers in 2010/11 than they did the previous year. There were fewer suitable applicants per vacancy (1.5 compared with 2.0 in 2009/10)   and a lower proportion of vacancies were readily filled (61% compared with 65%). But employers continue to experience significantly less difficulty recruiting in 2010/11 than they did in 2007/08 (1.2 suitable applicants per vacancy).

2.      There was a marked disparity though, between results for the first six months (to end December 2010) and the six months to end June 2011. DEEWR research suggests the strong recovery in the skilled labour market over late 2010 was not sustained in the first half of 2011  .

3.      South Australia   recorded the highest proportion of vacancies filled   (67%) and the Northern Territory the lowest (50%).

4.      In Trades and Technicians jobs category Automotive trades recorded the lowest proportion of vacancies filled   (42%) and shared with Hairdressers,   the lowest number of suitable applicants per vacancy (0.8).

5.      The most difficult to fill vacancies   in 2010/11 were for Engineering Professions, which includes occupations such as Civil Engineers and Mining Engineers  , with 41% filled.

6.      Accountants and School Teachers had the highest proportion of vacancies filled (both recording more than 80% of vacancies filled).

7.      Employers in regional Australia   (56% of surveyed vacancies filled and 1.3 suitable applicants per vacancy) had more difficulty recruiting skilled workers   than their counterparts in state capital cities (64% and 1.7).

The next 4 years     

1. Total employment is projected to grow by nearly 1.3 million jobs   over the 5 years to 2015/16, or 2.1% per year.   

2. Three industries   will account for over half of all jobs growth:  

·                Health Care and Social Assistance   (323,000 jobs)  

·                Construction   (201,000 jobs)  

·                Professional Scientific & Technical Services   (149,000 jobs)  

3. Strong growth is predicted in the Mining industry   (6.1% per year or 69,000 jobs), but it is still a comparatively small employing industry.   

4. Below average predicted growth in Accommodation and Food Services   (1.2% per year or 46,600 jobs).  

Getting Australians back into the workforce     

1. One in three Australians aged 15 years and over are not in the labour force (5.9 million people) but 1.3 million of them want to work, most of whom are women  (63%).   

2. Many of these people would require a significant change in their personal circumstances   before they could take up a job, however potential sources of labour supply may be:  

·            168,000 people who are caring for children  , of whom 13,600 intend to enter the labour force within 12 months  

·              Most (55%) would prefer to work part-time  

·            102,100 discouraged job seekers, of whom 57,600 intend to enter the labour force within 12 months  

3. A majority of those not in work are women   (61%) or over 55 years   of age (54%).  

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Hi Ross

My response is to both topics combined – the logical conculsion from your topic prompting us to believe that Linkedin will (may) take away the roles of agencies and the topic around the strength of the Australian labor market.

With Linkedin I do not believe it will be the end of specialist recruiters like Sustainergy who are focussed (electrical niche only), who add significant value to end clients within the electrical niche and who bring the cream of talent to the table to our clients. Of course we cannot work with all clients so those who use our services are the ones nodding their heads as they read this article because they've been the recipients of great talent from clients we do not represent. Its not across the board to all skills for our clients – its only those they cannot locate themselves where we step in and add value. And in that there is a role for agencies – Linked-in, Seek, MyCareer, CareerOne, internal staff Referrals by direct hirers or other means.

The current situation in the jobs market for specialist electrical skills its a bit like this. The analogy is similar to the jobs market being akin to a bus with people sitting on seats representing the jobs people occupy. There are several seats unoccupied on this bus and this represents the fact that there are more jobs as compared to the talent within sub-niches like sub-station design, protection engineers, etc within our electrical niche. To have a seat from one employer occupied, someone has to vacate a seat from another part of the bus but at no stage are all seats going to be occupied.

Its not like the guys sitting on the seats are unhappy across the board given the demand for their skills, so they are not going to get up and take a seat off their own but there are points of preference based on each individual's circumstances. And in this the closer you are to the candidate and in understanding their preferences the more you are able to convey to them that another seat on the bus may have advantages.

Linked in and on-line solutions are good for those on the bus who are completely pissed off with their job or who have made a decision to change seats but to dis-lodge a person who has the self-actualisation type of aspirations (after basic needs are met) are difficult to quantify in an on-line situation or even with a brief chat if you are a generalist recruiter. But as a specialist our job is to be best friends to the candidates in demand and in understanding their key drivers and then bringing to the table appropriate opportunities which meet those drivers and in that market we will win. And we are.

I just feel that the hype about Linkedin taking over agencies is over exagerrated and needs to be within a context.


Ray Pavri

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