2017 – it’s going to be a big one!

B2B Editor10 February 2017

2017 – it’s going to be a big one!

HorizonOne Recruitment’s Canberra Employment Market Update

2016 saw a steady, consistent growth in recruitment activity through most of the year lead predominantly by the Government sector. However, November and December saw a big surge in activity across all sectors. Buoyed by the ‘book end’ of a looming Christmas break and big plans for 2017, December was a record month for HorizonOne. This activity bodes well for a hectic recruitment year in 2017, with new jobs received at HorizonOne this year so far, already up 65% on last year.

A quick look at trends and activity from the end of 2016
In July we published a market update demonstrating consistent steady market growth led by a huge resurgence (up 50%) in Government vacancies following the lifting of the recruitment freeze in 2015.

Some of the highlights of this period included:

  • Scribing work for Government reaching record levels for HorizonOne, buoyed by the closing down of Effective People’s busy scribing arm
  • In December trend full time employment increased for the 3rd consecutive month (ABS Media Release Jan 17, 2017). There was around a 32% increase in people working part-time from December 2015. Unemployment remained steady at around 5.7%
  • Talent shortages are increasing at a rapid pace, with more markets impacted each month (See below)
  • The ACT battled South Australia for the fastest growth market as indicated by advertising levels, with between a 10-15% average increase in total jobs advertised over the last two quarters (SEEK, new job ads posted, Dec 2016)

Areas of immediate Talent shortage

Increased recruitment activity has led to numerous areas of market shortages. Here is a summary of the shortages we encounter daily at HorizonOne:

1. Business Services / Tax Accountants
(Private firms) – A perennial candidates short market, things have reached extreme shortage levels

2. Procurement specialists
All levels, private and public sectors, outsourcing trends mean this shortage is ongoing
3. Payroll processors
An area of ongoing shortages in the ACT, now a National issue (Lifehacker Jan 2017)
4. Government Financial Statements Accountants
(APS 5-EL2)
5. Government External Budgets Specialists
(APS 5 – EL1)
6. Quality, experienced EA’s/PA’s
In all sectors
7. Public affairs/Media Officers and Speechwriters
(APS 6/EL1)

Recruitment trends
There will be major shortages in quality contract resources over the next 6 months, particularly in the public sector. Many Government organisations are already at their ASL caps, and as they strive to drive new projects and achieve results before EOFY, contractor numbers will peak. Now is the time to act as good talent will be rare come April, and there are already significant waiting periods to secure quality contractors.

Job advertising online is proving less and less effective for securing talented staff. The days of massive job boards dominating recruitment are well and truly over. Employers need to build a great employer brand and proactively farm multiple channels to access talented people. Sourcing passive job seekers and building high quality referral networks is critical to recruitment success.

Lengthy recruitment processes or delays with decision making post interviews are increasingly leading to recruitment failure. The market is moving faster and faster and you need to be agile and ready to move as soon as you meet that talented option. Failure to ‘nail the offer’ on the first effort is also leading to plenty of failed offers. Top talent have an increasing number of options available, and you need to put your best foot forward to secure their interest in a competitive market.

Predicted trends in the market -Growth areas
Digital transformation
Organisations from all sectors are seeking to maintain currency (and sometimes relevancy) through an incredible pace of change. With cloud computing, new applications and increasing use of automation (robotic) technology, digital transformation is a buzz word that is here to stay. Project Managers and leaders who can deliver on these complex, difficult reforms will be in continuous demand. Requiring a unique mix of leadership, change management, solution design and understanding of complex technology, this emerging market is guaranteed to be talent short.

HR reform
With continually evolving organisations, restructures and ongoing reform across all sectors, change is the one constant in the people business. Organisations are expecting more from their HR professionals, and demand for HR staff in our region is up with jobs advertised on SEEK up 95% on the same time last year (SEEK, Salary and Job Trends Jan 20 2017). Senior Executives now want more than administrative, historical information and recruitment support from HR. Value-add and business partnering is the name of the game from here-on in. Organisations will reform traditionally established HR practices, instead promoting automation through technology and proactive reporting and information provision. Senior Executives will demand innovative HR professionals who can design and implement lasting change. Real HR Business Partners who are highly attuned to their business’s needs will be a significant area of skills demand in 2017 and for many years to come.

Change management
Flowing on from the HR professional growth, demand for Organisational Change Managers, ICT change managers and HR Change specialists has increased significantly in the last 2 years. Expect this trend to continue rocketing along as there are already significant shortages in the local market. A surge in talent from interstate is already required to meet existing demand. 2017 will see some massive new ICT projects (Defence, DHS) gain momentum, as with the continuing reform agenda from the Federal Government.

Financial, Data, Statistical or Business Intelligence Analysts (Data Scientists)
Big data! The buzz word for more than 5 years now is starting to take hold in Canberra. Following a pattern of growth in Sydney and more extensively in overseas markets, Canberra’s market has started to get moving with demand for analysts growing steadily. We are looking to catch up with the rest of the world by harnessing the power of data to predict behaviour and inform decision making. The Federal Government is sitting on enormous caches of predictive data, Canberra will soon be a hotspot of the future for these professionals that are in short supply.

Infrastructure and Property
The Commonwealth Governments focus on infrastructure has had a positive impact on business activity in multiple states. Canberra’s Light Rail project is already driving positive growth locally with Stage 1 under implementation and as we move into feasibility for Stage 2 (City to Woden). As the project accelerates, demand for project managers & engineers, procurement/contract specialists and business/finance specialists to manage the development will increase. NSW’s fastest area of job advertising growth last year was in Project Engineers up 55% on the previous year meaning challenging recruitment conditions in this space (SEEK, Salary and Job Trends Jan 20 2017).

The property sector is still booming in Canberra and the surrounding region. Excellent housing market returns and some big projects over the next 3 years including at the UC, further GEOCON developments and multiple new suburbs) is likely to keep it that way. Development and Construction Managers are in increasingly short supply, as are some of the key tradespeople, with advertising for ‘chippies’ up 110% on last year for our region. (SEEK, Salary and Job Trends Jan 20 2017).

All signs point to a huge year in recruitment for 2017. Make sure to keep an eye out for any great recruiters looking for a change. HorizonOne are running a campaign to attract talent to support continued growth.

Please contact Simon Cox at HorizonOne
Recruitment on 02 6108 4878 or
[email protected]
Level 1, 27 Torrens Street, Braddon