After moving to a country with such well known differences to where I grew up I expected to notice vast changes, however the difference in the employment market has been the most interesting. Australia and Scotland have very different environments. Scotland’s beautiful lush landscape with its freezing winters is the polar opposite to the tropical sandy beaches year round back in Australia. Although the environments are so different the people have lots more in common, Scotland shares the Aussie passion for sports, great humour and the love of a good pint.
The Scottish employment market has stark differences to Queensland, Australia though both have a strong tourism industry year round. However, due to government contract freezing, the mining downturn and some skilled roles moving overseas, the Queensland employment market is one where employers have a lot of choice with candidates. Coming to Scotland I was initially very excited by the employee negotiating power and choice practically in some of the key markets where FPSG specialise to meet the hiring needs of our clients.
In August 2017 it was widely published that the UK national employment figures had reached a record high with unemployment falling by 12,000. Again this was extremely exciting coming from a HR career where I have had to turn away people because they were over qualified. Though I am still very encouraged by the falling unemployment and fantastic career opportunities being offered in Scotland, it is important to understand what issues this brings.
Where there is a candidate driven market it is important to still be mindful of recruiting smart. Though we can clearly see the extraordinary differences between our beautiful countries, one thing that is the same across the globe is that it is expensive to recruit good staff and even more expensive to lose them. Not only does it cost the business in terms of money via advertising but also in manager’s time. It’s a process, not only are you seeking key skills to benefit business needs but also need to identify an individual that will be able to grow with the business and be retained long term. Something that is not often spoken about is that this process also has a cost to candidates regarding their time, many candidates in employment need to use holiday time to attend interviews. When operating in a candidate driven market where quality candidates are going to be time poor due to work responsibilities, it is key to assess the recruitment process and have it working effectively and efficiently for both parties. Long drawn out processes will push candidates back into the security of their existing role.
When you lose key talent, you lose not just their skills but also their business knowledge. We all know the importance of recruiting the right person and it is right to keep talking about improving staff on-boarding processes, but we also need to be mindful of retention. There will always be a natural attrition of staff over time however some people may be surprised that a 2016 Survey found that 30% of respondents said their major concern was a lack of career progression. Followed by 56% of those surveyed saying career conversations are not occurring with their managers. From my personal experience I speak with candidates every day who say a main reason they will consider a new position is due to looking for career development, training and the opportunity to, in the future, progress with the company. This is undoubtedly a big motivator and one that can easily be fixed to help existing staff and assess where knowledge is likely to be lost from, making planning your recruitment strategy easier and more effective. Employment strategy is a whole topic on its own and one that should be tailored to suit your business needs.
For advice on planning your employment strategy to align with your business please contact one of the senior FPSG Recruitment team. My manager Michael Taggart is always open to a chat about bespoke recruitment solutions and how rich in talent bonnie Scotland is too.
During the course of my career I have read many articles on employment, the concluding messages continue to be true today: Getting the recruitment process right is important. Understanding the employment market you are operating is essential. Investing in staff development benefits business.
This is true across the globe.
Author: Holly McMullen