What does the candidates’ market mean for Do Good Employers?
By Rhiannon Robinson
We’ve been hearing from lots of employers who are experiencing struggles in the current candidate-driven market. With no end to the candidate shortage in site; here’s the lowdown on what’s happening out there:
Fewer applicants for more roles
Jobs boards, including Do Good Jobs and Seek, saw recording-breaking numbers of jobs posted in the first half of 2021. Seek reported jobs ads were up 88% in July 2021 compared to July 2020. At Do Good Jobs, we saw 230% growth in job listings (we’ve been working hard to get more employers listing with us too to become the go-to place for values-led roles). While that dipped slightly with lockdown measures in August and September, job listings look to be ramping back up again quickly.
However, the number of applicants per ad is at an all-time low on all platforms.
Seek NZ’s latest employer report found that “applications per job ad also fell further in August 2021, seeing a drop of 6%, given the impact restrictions had during the month. I am not surprised to see applications decline too as candidates hold tight before making any career moves.”
In our recent korero with Do-Good employers, many have been reporting fewer applicants for roles and needing to re-list roles for additional time to attract a suitable candidate pool. Roles that had been listed in past years that attracted an overwhelming response are now only attracting a handful of candidates this time around.
More bargaining power
As a scarce resource, candidates have higher expectations and more bargaining power. The recent Delta outbreak has made the security of current roles seem appealing, and some candidates lack the energy to dive into a job search after gruelling lockdowns.
HRD reports “Job seekers are definitely wary of leaving their current employer for a new role in these uncertain times and this is affecting the application numbers we are seeing currently.”
“One out of five job seekers are reluctant to move if offered a new job. This meant educating clients that there was still high competition for quality candidates and that these candidates were more risk-averse than before, so employers needed to showcase their flexibility and employee benefits – financial and otherwise.” – HRD
The Do-Good sector often struggles to compete with salaries and benefits in the public and private sectors. In Wellington particularly, employers are reporting losing staff and potential candidates to Government jobs. In July 2021 a business lobby group spoke to the media about concerns “inflated rates of public sector pay were worsening the private recruitment woes.”
Despite a public service pay freeze, 18 major government agencies had increased personal numbers by 20% in 2 years. Business NZ recently commented, “we’re hearing anecdotally – particularly, obviously, in Wellington, because it’s where government is situated – that people are leaving for higher paid government roles.”
Closed borders are also having a continued impact. Grant Robertson recently acknowledged a labour shortage, calling it “a good problem to have” and signalling that employers needed to focus on up-skilling the on-shore workforce.
As a bunch of very smart cookies (80% of Do Good Jobs job seekers have a bachelor’s degree and 40% a post-grad qualification), job seekers in the Do-Good sector are aware of the extra bargaining power and range of options available to them in the current market. Naturally they want to negotiate the best deal for themselves and their careers.
Reneging, Counter Offers and Head-Hunting
Reneging, counter offers and head-hunting are all symptoms of the current market. Reneging (rescinding acceptance of a role) is happening frequently, with existing employers quickly putting together a ‘counter offer they can’t refuse’ for employees with a live job offer on the table. Calculating the cost of increasing salary and benefits for an existing employee versus the cost of hiring and onboarding, it’s a no-brainer to whip together a case to stay – often against the clock.
Our community who are already in roles have been repeatedly reporting getting head-hunted by other organisations and contacted by recruiters who are eager to connect them with live roles. In some niche areas, like procurement, people are experiencing four or five ‘head-hunting’ emails or calls per week. Some are calling this push and pull ‘The War on Talent’ Beyond Recruitment’s recent article on ‘Winning The War on Talent’ sums it up:
“If there’s one thing that’s clear, it is that in this market, the candidate is king – and recruitment and retention efforts must adapt accordingly.”
What can I do as an employer?
Ok, we know the state of play with the current market – so what can we DO about it? Raising salaries is not always possible in the Do Good Sector, so it’s hard to win on that front.
- Think beyond the pay
Beyond’s guide says “savvy employers are offering training and development, interesting project work, flexible working, staff engagement surveys, salary reviews and team-building initiatives in order to improve staff engagement and retention rates.”
Professional Development came through as something that is right near the top of the priority list in Do Good Jobs’ 2021 job seeker survey, as did values alignment and feeling appreciated. Do-Good employers should be shouting about benefits like mentoring and coaching, upskilling and secondment opportunities, flexible working and team culture in their jobs ads.
- Reassess your job ad
In a competitive environment, a job ad becomes a pitch for a scarce resource. Careful attention needs to be paid to your job ads you can’t afford for this to be a rushed job. As well as communicating your values and unique selling points as an organisation it’s important to review what you’re asking for in the ‘ideal candidate’ section. Are you using any language that may exclude certain groups, or putting in unnecessary requirements that create additional barriers to applicants? An example of this could be asking for a full drivers license when this isn’t essential for the job, and car travel would only be necessary occasionally (hopping in an Uber is now the norm for many of us anyway). Another is stating that a tertiary qualification is preferred when it’s not directly related to the role, or needed.
You might also want to change your language from being all about what you want e.g “Must have”, to also include what your potential candidates will receive.
- Boost it
Lastly, any additional budget that can go on the recruitment campaign will give you an advantage. Do Good Jobs offers boosting options for any budget, from boosting to a premium listing with a highly targeted social media ad to those who might fit your criteria, to a tailored sponsored content campaign.
What is Do Good Jobs doing to help?
Do Good Jobs is committed to connecting our employers with goodies no matter the market. As well as offering guides like this, you can also give our Business Development Manager Rhiannon a call to discuss what’s happening in the market.
We’re continuing to offer our money back and a bonus credit guarantee on listings, keeping them risk-free.
Lastly, we’re putting our premium listing on sale until the end of October to make bumping your ad that little bit easier. This is on sale for $199 (usually $249) and includes a paid Facebook ad.