By Abbey Jane

Geelong’s booming economy is feeding healthy, thriving businesses, but not having enough staff to meet demand is not that good a problem to have. The pandemic exacerbated an existing talent shortage through forced redundancies and closed borders. Many who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 shutdowns ‘pivoted’ to different roles or sought new career paths. This phenomenon was coined ‘The Great Resignation’ by economists, and it isn’t over yet.

Thousands of people are seeking the Geechange on a monthly basis, but why is Geelong unable to lure these new worker bees to their honeypots? Just because Melburnians are moving here doesn’t mean they are changing workplaces. What was once a lengthy commute is now as simple as opening a laptop thanks to pandemic-driven work from home arrangements.

If you’ve advertised for recent roles and had a low number of applications or increasingly unqualified applicants, think outside the form field boxes with these alternative methods.

Start your training

Traineeships are becoming a necessary recruitment exercise for businesses desperate to onboard staff. Coulter Legal HR Manager Amelia Pilcher admits trying to source experienced legal staff is a major pain point right now. “We need staff with the experience to maintain the high standard we adhere to, but 90% of the applicants we get are from students. Of course, we offer internships and clerkships but these positions are limited. A new staff member is a considerable investment, so we have to get it right. We’re actually now looking at traineeships for legal assistants so they can learn the role as they go.”

Coulter legal law careers
Coulter Legal HR Manager Amelia Pilcher is looking at offering more traineeships in the absence of experienced candidate applications.

Some common gripes of local employers include a newfound apathy from potential hires, especially with candidates knowing they can shop around. Or in worst cases, they simply don’t turn up. This has been the case for Brad and Tania Goss at Car Detailing Geelong, a professional car coat and wrap studio that is ready to go full speed ahead but is being slowed by acquisition issues.

“We’re booked out until August and actually having to turn down some enquiries because we don’t have enough people. We have candidates that look strong, but then they don’t show up for the job. We’ve been advertising since October last year. When we started campaigning hard in January, we had all of four applicants. There just seems to be no one around. We are at the point we’ll take someone on and invest the time to train them as we’ve had job postings go unanswered for months,” Tania explained.

Get some new recruiters

If you onboard someone that will disrupt your culture or isn’t correctly qualified, your new staff hire could end up costing you more than you bargained for. Getting it right the first time is critical, so think about using a recruiter to help you throw a wider net for catching quality candidates.

Recruiter Lauren Hogan of Fruition Recruitment has operated in Geelong for ten years, offering strategic recruitment partnerships with a true business focus for quality acquisition in the long term. Unlike traditional recruiters, she works on a fixed fee structure rather than a percentage. This means you’re not paying a different or excessive amount each time you need recruitment services, and you’ll have the best chance of attracting top talent.

recruitment Geelong
Lauren Hogan at Fruition Recruitment understands there is a financial investment at stake with every hire.

“The better recruiters will provide access to those ‘receptive’ candidates who are not on the open market,” she explains. “True hiring experts will leverage sophisticated name generation tools and deep web mining to uncover candidates that are simply unavailable through more conventional means. Today’s job market is extremely competitive and complex, so investments in talent are some of the most essential decisions a company makes and directly impact future business success and value.“

But how are recruiters handling the extra demands of the current staff shortage crisis in a post-pandemic world? Lauren is confident that dedicated recruitment specialists have the inside edge to meet these challenges. 

“Talent acquisition professionals continue to face recruiting and hiring challenges in the second year of an unprecedented labour market characterised by record-level turnover, job openings, increased stress and significantly changed candidate expectations. How organisations balance business sustainability with supporting employee needs will be key in creating a post-pandemic normal. We provide advice to help businesses navigate emerging demands in terms of workforce diversity and inclusion as well as provide insight-filled analysis of competitive compensation, talent shortages and opportunities, together with other data-driven recommendations that are developed and delivered with a razor-sharp focus.”

Get certified as a Great Place To Work®

Your team members can be great allies when it comes to recruitment. If you offer a supportive and rewarding environment with vibrant team culture and have staff members willing to attest to that, make it official. Achieving Great Place To Work® Certification gives you the chance to be recognised by a global authority and share that recognition with your extended network. Great Place to Work® supplies you with an employee survey platform to quantify your work culture. 

Someone who understands the merits of such a certification is Ebony Davies, Head of People & Culture at Evologic, Geelong’s leading supplier of Managed IT Support & Services and a recent recipient of Great Place to Work® certification.

“The possibilities and opportunities for job seekers have exploded in some ways. The beauty of the IT industry meant being able to pivot to a successful remote workforce. This meant job seekers can apply for and obtain employment anywhere in our country. With that came the hunt for more attractive remuneration packages and the market has become quite competitive.” 

IT services Geelong
Evologic’s CEO Chris Davies and Head of People and Culture Ebony Davies believe in doing great work with
great people and providing a positive work environment for maintaining a thriving culture.

While Ebony knows the importance of providing a positive culture, Evologic hasn’t been immune to the highly competitive post-pandemic job market and has upgraded recruitment tactics as a result.

“Our approach had to shift from our traditional ways of just placing a job ad on Seek, so we engaged a professional recruiter to partner with us. This approach casts a wider net and allows us to use the recruiter’s knowledge of local talent pools. We found a fantastic recruiter that took the time to understand us and our business so that together we could find exceptional people. All that said, we continue to ensure Evologic is a desirable place to work. We want to do great work with great people, so we ensure we provide an environment to do just that. As an employer, we continue to be open and flexible with our offerings to ensure we remain competitive and an employer of choice for those seeking new and exciting opportunities.”

Throw in a car

Did you know there is a way to offer potential employees a brand new vehicle, but it won’t put a dent in the budget? Available to any employer, even with a staff of just one, novated leasing is a type of salary packaging arrangement that can help you attract, reward and retain new employees. Novated leasing is often mistakenly understood as a business lease where a car is used only for business purposes, but it is available for almost any employee wanting new wheels. Essentially, employees can use their pre-tax salary to make repayments on a new or existing vehicle. As long as the car is less than 10 years old, they can choose the car they’ve always wanted and benefit from the extra perks of included on-road costs such as insurance, registration, fuel and even servicing.

This is especially attractive given the current fuel prices and costs of running and maintaining a car. To save extra paperwork, you can outsource novated leasing and salary packaging arrangements to a salary packaging provider such as Geelong’s The Salary Packaging People. They’ll do the tricky financial stuff for you while you increase your ability to attract and retain talent.

Good luck with your talent hunting, Geelong employers!