It’s a harder job finding the perfect candidate

In its latest Hays Quarterly Report, the recruitment company found that employers are relaxing their previously stringent criteria when it comes to finding suitable candidate. This includes revising job descriptions in relation to years of experience, offering training and taking on contract employees to assist with immediate needs while they wait to fill the role on permanent basis.

“Employers are willing to consider candidates that don’t necessary tick all the boxes in their preferred list of requirements as long as they can see potential there,” says Jason Walker, managing director of Hays in New Zealand. “Employers recognise we are experiencing skills short market and the ‘perfect’ candidate is becoming harder to obtain.”

“When it was candidate rich market, employers could be very selective over who they hired. But as we head into candidate short market, we are advising companies to become more flexible and re-evaluate what they are looking for and who they hire. As long as the candidate has the right cultural fit, there is more flexibility if they need to learn or develop certain skills. We are seeing some companies willing to hire less experienced candidates who they feel can be trained and get return on investment within 12 months.

“While flexibility is the wider trend in the market, we have noted there are employers in some areas who will not compromise on certain skill sets.”

• View the full Hays Quarterly Report at

And echoing the same theme, research by finance and accounting recruiter Robert Half shows 84 percent of managers are finding it challenging to find skilled financial professionals. The research also found that 62 percent of hiring managers in New Zealand were concerned about losing top financial performers to other job opportunities in the next year.

Robert Half New Zealand general manager Megan Alexander says there is justified cause for concern. “Employers will need to respond quickly, be more flexible, and be prepared to compromise. Top talent will get snapped up quickly as there is no longer the luxury of large pool of candidates that was available during the downturn.”

She adds, “Like it or not, it seems we are mainly driven by money when it comes to changing jobs.” Given the right inducement, 94 percent of finance and accounting staff would be tempted to move jobs. Robert Half’s research shows increased pay (26%) or taking on more challenging responsibilities (19%) are the two options most likely to entice staff to change companies.

It also shows New Zealand hiring managers have reported offering number of enticements over and above salary to attract and retain talent. These include subsidised training or education (52%), flexible working hours or telecommuting (46%) and additional bonuses (41%). Other less common retention incentives being offered include mentoring programmes, loyalty leave, free or subsidised lunch or snacks, subsidised gym memberships, discounts or cash back programmes with retailers and onsite perks such as childcare, dry cleaning, fitness centre or cafeteria.

Alexander says while more money is the biggest lure to new role, the three main factors for people wanting to leave current job relate to issues with people, structure or process. This is food for thought for employees looking to build retention, she says.

“Employees will be far more engaged by being given the opportunity to do meaningful work at company they love with team they enjoy, and where they are recognised for their achievements. Managers who can provide this mix, along with competitive salary, will find they are well-placed when it comes to keeping hold of top performers,” she says.

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