Insights into Recruitment Challenges and Trends for 2016


Recent economic drivers have resulted in a significant contraction in employment demand particularly in Western Australia and more broadly across the rest of the country. This is in stark contrast to what we experienced no more than a few years ago during the so called boom times when WA had a large skills shortage that needed to be fed by overseas talent.

These contrasting economic fortunes have provided their own challenges but importantly the experiences they provide have in themselves altered the perception of recruitment and manner it is conducted. What we have seen over the past few years is a growing trend for businesses to limit outsourced work and think more strategically about performing this function. Furthermore, the growing amount of available information through the internet now means that internal recruiters can be more successful. I personally suspect this trend is also driven by the sour taste left from some recruitment companies making thousands of dollars from resume floats, often not even interviewing candidates before sending resumes.

The growing uncertainty surrounding employment tenure has also tempered worker attitudes to job search. We have an example of this from the US where staff turnover rates as a result of “quits” declined from 14% preGFC to a low of 9% in 2011. As the US economy has improved turnover turnover has grown to 11% in 2015.  I expect the same trend in Australia and anecdotal evidence at least supports this.

The economic slowdown and the change in resources available to recruitment companies and businesses alike has altered recruitment. This has created differing challenges for both clients and customers alike, these are summarised below.

Challenges for Recruiting Organisations

  • Organisations are tightening their belts and rationalising their workforce therefore they need more than ever to ensure correct hires.
  • Less people in the active employment market means finding and attracting quality staff will become harder.
  • Organisations will need to spend more time building an attractive employee value proposition to ensure they can attract the best people.
  • A rationalised workforce means that businesses will have a core stable workforce and need to support this in the short term with contract staff. Temporary and contract positions are currently flourishing, particularly in the resources sector in WA.
  • A more stable core workforce will require a focus on succession planning, talent management, skills enhancement particularly leadership and a greater concern for team dynamics.
  • Organisations will further reduce their reliance on external recruiters and make more use of social media and professional networking rather than job boards.
  • Employee referral programs and internal hiring is set to get stronger in 2016 with relationship building being the key for success.
  • There will always be a place for external recruitment but whereas it was about shopping to a few agencies, we believe the trend is toward individual research based hard to fill positions that require a focused approach. Recruitment companies can assist when anonymity is important or when an active search process is required.


Peter Giannas – Project Human Resources

Peter has over 20 years in the delivery of Outplacement, Career Transition, Psychometric Testing and Recruitment Services. He has multiple post graduate qualifications in psychology including organisational and education psychology and has owned and operated his own businesses for more than 10 years.