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Last week Elmo Software released their HR Industry Benchmark Survey – The 2022 Report. The survey was conducted in September 2021, drawn from the responses of 1690 HR practitioners in both Australia and New Zealand.

The report provides a fascinating insight into the rapidly increasing importance of recruitment for HR practitioners yet how much less time each day these same practitioners would prefer to devote to recruitment.

In response to the question “Please select the top three items that you believe will challenge your organisation over the next 12 months”.

Across all industries, Recruitment was the most nominated issue of 2021 (by 24% of respondents), beating out Upskilling, Cross Skilling and Re-skilling Employees (23%) and Leadership Development (22%).

By industry, Recruitment was the most nominated issue by respondents from the construction; wholesale trade; rental, hiring, and real estate services; and financial services sectors.

In the previous year’s survey recruitment was cited by just 13% of respondents as a “Top 3 challenge”, making it only the 11th most nominated category.

Recruitment also featured strongly in response to the question: “Please select the top three areas that you believe to be taking up too much of HR’s time in your organisation, relative to the value they deliver”.

“General admin work” (nominated by 63% of respondents) was easily the most nominated category, however “Recruiting and executive search” was comfortably the second-most nominated category (33%), five percentage points ahead of “Operations management” the third-most nominated category (28%).

From these results it’s not hard to draw the conclusion that for many organisations recruitment is highly important yet the HR department would prefer to be spending their time doing something else.

It’s not hard to understand why.

Recently I conducted a review of the subjects offered within a HR degree or HR major (typically within a Bachelor of Business) by a dozen major Australian tertiary institutions.

Not a single one of these undergraduate programs offered a recruitment or talent acquisition subject.

No wonder many HR practitioners feel the time they are devoting to recruitment is not worth it – they have come to the job with zero theoretical understanding of an organisational issue that they quickly discover is very important. Yet their alma mater didn’t regard recruitment as important enough to devote even a single subject to across a three year undergraduate degree.

The tangible outcome of a lack of interest, preparedness, and skill within HR practitioners when it comes to recruitment is borne out in another part of the Elmo survey which reveals it takes 40 days on average to fill a vacant position.

By country, organisations in Australia fill vacant roles in an average of 38 days yet New Zealand-based organisations take nearly a third longer to fill vacancies, clocking in at an average of 50.3 days.

When it comes to filling executive roles the New Zealand results are even worse. It takes 45% longer, on average, for organisation in New Zealand to fill executive roles (86 days), compared to Australian-based organisations (59 days).

These spectacularly poor results are damning evidence that the historic disinterest in the knowledge and skills of recruitment demonstrated by tertiary institutions, organisations, and HR practitioners is proving to be very costly right now.

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I’ve worked inhouse for the last few years and worked with a number of HR professionals ; the majority have been highly competent, provide a lot of value to the business, fun to work with…and find recruitment highly tedious. Not only will it not be in the degree subjects but I highly doubt its mentioned in many adverts or job descriptions. I don’t blame them either – writing quality job adverts, head hunting, managing a recruitment process and then having the grubby conversation about money and closing candidates off is a full time job in itself 🙂

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