Last week I had the opportunity to attend an RCSA breakfast event and listen to Florian Dean, Head of Strategy at SEEK, discuss how the employment market is changing and what the implications were for recruitment.
The Skills Shortage
Historically, there has been a negative correlation between unemployment and advertisement volume – when job ads went down, unemployment tended to be higher. Recently, ad volume has been rising, and so has unemployment. This is due to an increase in specialised roles, pushed by faster and more pronounced development cycles. Mr Dean highlighted that in the emphasis to find the best and most specialised candidates, candidates must continue learning throughout their careers, or businesses focus on non-learnable attributes when hiring, in an understanding that they will train the candidate to be where they need them to be later. For recruitment, this means there will still be plenty of work for us, as finding these specialist candidates can sometimes be like finding a ‘needle in a haystack’.
Skill Set Disruption
Mr Dean outlined that the above skills shortage is in part due to advances in technology. As new technology is developed and implemented, whole skill sets will become redundant (i.e. when driverless cars become common, will there be a need for taxi drivers?). Some jobs will always need people – especially ones that need emotion e.g. therapists, or ones that are highly unstructured e.g. managers. But, computers will replace roles that are learnable and repetitive. As such, organisations are already starting to build up a contractor workforce, to avoid investing in permanent teams that will become redundant in five years’ time. We’re already seeing this in recruitment, with temp desks growing in leaps and bounds across most role types.
Increasing Public Profile Data
We’re coming to an age where individuals are happy to have multiple public profiles of them on the Internet. Often these are pre-constructed, but as technology develops, there is more depth to the profiles and reveal behaviours, habits, and traits of individuals that ‘big data’ is able to track and collect. Interestingly, public data is becoming a two way street. Candidates are expecting there to be publically available information on a business before they start working there, revealing more about the company than what their marketing collateral suggests.
The SEEK company review page is an example of this, and highlights the need for businesses to truly instil the values they have, lest they receive a 2 star average rating by ex employees. All in all, Mr Dean emphasised that employment market globally is changing, at an increasing rate. There is a need for individuals to constantly keep learning, to remain in the workforce and to stay in jobs that are one step ahead of computers. Organisations have a responsibility to provide this learning, because this has implications for the image they portray to potential employees. Despite many of the above changes occurring in the middle-to-long term, professional development and training is an important benefit to many candidates, over many other benefits, indicating that some change is occurring right now.