The Australian branch of international recruitment and training management company ManpowerGroup has recently released their Manpower Employment Outlook Survey Q3 2015.
Each quarter, the survey sets out to measure the hiring confidence of global employers across 42 countries and territories, involving roughly 66,000 managers in the process.
Overall, the Australian results suggest that local employers aren’t looking to make any changes to their staff in the next quarter (76 per cent). Just 12 per cent are looking to hire, which represents a 9 percentage point drop quarter-on-quarter.
Perhaps more interesting, however, is that many employers are giving up on finding talent. In an earlier press release, Manpower Group Australia announced the results of its 10th Annual Talent Shortage Survey.
This survey involved more than 1,500 Australian employers, and found that 42 per cent of them were struggling to fill roles. Yet even though there is a clear talent shortage in some areas, a quarter of Australian employers are taking no action to do anything about it.
In terms of year-on-year trends, the low number of employers implementing strategies to act on these shortages is down 5 per cent. Elsewhere, employers are making plans to tackle the shortages head on, which is a concerning trend for the country’s economy, according to managing director of ManpowerGroup Lincoln Crawley.
“It is imperative to the local economy that our workforce is able to compete on the world stage. There has never been a better time for business to focus on developing work practices that will enable them to compete for talent long-term,” he explained.
The employers of the survey reported on the roles most difficult to fill. In first place was skilled trades, followed by management and executive roles, sales representatives, engineers, technicians, labourers, accounting and finance staff, drivers, IT staff, and administrative roles such as secretaries and PAs.
Unsurprisingly, the most difficult role to fill of skilled trades has remained the same for nine years in a row.
These statistics are backed by research from other Australian companies as well. In 2011, finance and accounting firm Robert Half said that 88 per cent of employers struggled to find skilled candidates in the field.
Shortages such as those in accounting and trades affect the whole company. The ManpowerGroup survey went on to ask employers about the impact or losses from these HR issues, to which 33 per cent said it reduced their company’s competitiveness and productivity. Almost half (46 per cent) said it negatively impacted their ability to serve clients.
To improve the situation and avoid situations in which shortages lead to lost productivity and value, Crawley hopes Australian employers will not give up on talent. He said that the main challenge for these employers was that many are looking to hire people who already specialise in the role, rather than hiring someone with the building blocks required and teaching them the rest.
“Businesses and workers alike need to look at the teachable fit model and focus on adapting skills to meet demand,” he said.