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2021 Vision - How To Attract Candidates In A Cautious Market

2021 Vision - How To Attract Candidates In A Cautious Market

What can employers expect going into 2021 and how has job seeker behaviour changed in the era of COVID-19? Employers face new challenges to attract quality candidates in the current market as jobseekers take a more conservative approach to their careers and are less willing to move.  

With the unemployment rate at a rather high 7% (October 2020), you would expect there to be an abundance of candidates available in the market. This is true for lower-skilled roles such as low-level admin and customer service jobs. However, this is not the case for higher-skilled roles requiring certifications, degrees, and special qualifications/and or prior experience. In the property industry in South Australia, those jobs requiring higher skill levels are very candidate short. The movement of interstate candidates has only just started up again and there are almost no overseas candidates currently.  

This is leaving employers struggling to secure quality talent and manage their workloads and pipeline of work going into 2021.  

Candidate trends 

  • Job Security is No. 1 Priority for Jobseekers 
    In a year where uncertainty has been a constant, it’s no wonder job security has become the most important consideration for jobseekers when appraising a potential employer. The number of people who have moved from active job seeking to passive job-seeking has increased greatly due to jobseekers taking a more risk-averse approach to manage their careers. 

  • Salary not as important as security and work/life balance 
    Seek research shows that due to COVID-19, 2 out of 3 candidates would trade a higher salary for job security if faced with that decision. It’s clear that candidates are also choosing work/life balance over salary. A high percentage of people said they would choose a lower stress job with a lower salary over a high-stress job coupled with a higher salary.  

  • Many candidates are considering big changes 
    Seek research also revealed almost 40% of candidates were considering moving to an industry that is less likely to be impacted by COVID-19 (July 2020). This year has been one of reflection with many Australians evaluating their employment situation, quality of life, and what’s important to them. 

  • Casual and contract work is becoming less appealing 
    According to Seek, more than half of Australians interviewed were more hesitant to take on contract or casual work. In stark contrast, we’re noticing employers in the property industry in South Australia are more likely to take on temps or contract staff at a time when they are unsure how the market will perform going into 2021. So, that shows a real disconnect between what employers want and what candidates are looking for.   

So, what can employers do to secure quality talent going into 2021? 

  • Be open about your organisation’s performance  
    We recommend employers take a twofold approach to this. Firstly, look back and discuss how your organisation has handled COVID-19 and how it impacted your business. Candidates want to know how your organisation has performed financially and culturally. Secondly, discuss how your business will perform going forward. What pipeline of work or projects do you have in place? Have you lost or increased the percentage of your customer base? You don’t need to provide a profit and loss statement, you just need to provide candidates with confidence that your business will continue to perform well going forward. For example, a property management business could promote that they have a 2% vacancy rate amongst their rent roll and a strong customer base. A short paragraph in a job ad is an appropriate way to promote this to jobseekers.  

  • Brand Marketing  
    Brand marketing will be critically important to attracting quality talent going forward. In a cautious market, job seekers are doing more thorough research on potential employers. Use your website and social media channels to communicate your brand values and company culture to potential employees.  

  • Be prepared to answer questions about job security.  
    Many candidates are concerned about job security in the current market. So, employers should be prepared to answer questions about their financial buoyancy in job interviews and from phone inquiries. 

  • Tidy up your recruitment processes  
    Employers need to move quickly to secure the best candidates. Streamlining your recruitment processes will ensure you don’t miss out on quality talent to competing organisations. Consider using a specialist recruiter to assist you with this process. 
  • Provide clarity on your employee value proposition 
    Be clear about what your organisation can offer candidates and advertise that to the market. What is your unique selling proposition? Do you offer flexible work arrangements? Do you have a great company culture and social events in place? Do you offer up to date technology and sound systems and procedures, which are more important than ever to candidates?  

At a time when many employees are evaluating their careers, employers should work on their talent retention and attraction strategies to help secure quality talent now and going into 2021.  


-ABS website (October 2020 statistics)  
-Seek website