- Reduced birth rates. ‘Australia’s fertility rate has fallen to the lowest level in recorded history‘
These reduced birth rates have been occurring for decades, meaning babies born since the early 80s are 40 years and younger right now, but at a significantly reduced proportion of the population compared to the past.
- Baby boomers exiting our workforce. ‘It is estimated 4 million baby boomers will retire in the next 10 to 20 years, making the largest loss of knowledge and skills in the Australian Labour market‘. We are fortunate also to be experiencing a higher workforce participation rate in ‘older workers’. This doesn’t, however, fill the gap.
- A shift in priorities. Since COVID, people are having an ‘about face’ in what they seek from their jobs, with a good proportion switching work preferences to part-time or opting out of the workforce altogether. Research shows another significant trend emerging, ‘record numbers of people are thinking of changing their job, career or location and approach to work in the wake of COVID-19 for a range of reasons, including necessity, burnout or a lifestyle rethink after last year’s pause in the “rat race”‘.
- Immigration. In the last 20 years, in supporting our workforce, Australia has heavily relied upon overseas migration. Right now, our skills shortage is further heightened and emphasised by the recent reduction in migrant workers due to COVID, a decrease of 7.4% since 2019. ‘For permanent visa holders in the year ending June 2020, overseas migrant arrivals declined (15.9%), while departures increased from one year earlier (up 17.1%)‘.
- Having a say. The Pandemic raised the importance of having choice and exercising it in crucial life circumstances, and career seems to be at the top. Employees want to be co-creators of their working experience and know what they want and expect from their employers.
- Job insecurity. People are more reluctant to leave roles. Our recent EST10 survey shows job security as number two in employees’ priority.
All of this contributes to the unemployment rate of 5.5%. Prior to this, it was 4.1% in April 2008- the lowest rate recorded since monthly estimates started being released in February 1978. This reduced selection pool puts considerable constraints on our job market and for any business looking to grow with hiring as their core strategy.
The longer this condition lasts (and it won’t abate any time soon), the more pressing the imperative for companies to rethink and discover different ‘places’ and ways to source talent. If you decide to keep trying to recruit the way you used to, even as short as 6 months ago, be prepared to risk an ongoing empty seat.