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Why Candidates Are More Cautious Than Ever

Why Candidates Are More Cautious Than Ever

How has job seeker behaviour changed in the era of COVID-19 and why? In the current market, job seekers are taking a more conservative approach to their careers and are less willing to change jobs.  

With the unemployment rate in South Australia hovering around 7%, you would assume there would be an abundance of candidates in the market looking for jobs. This is true of lower-skilled roles such as admin, customer service, and hospitality jobs. However, this is not the case for candidates in higher-skilled jobs requiring degrees, certifications, special qualifications/and or experience. In the property industry in South Australia, those jobs requiring higher skill levels are very candidate short. This includes residential and commercial property managers, facilities managers, valuers and conveyancers, and project managers. The movement of candidates from interstate has only just started to improve and there are currently close to zero overseas candidates.  

This is leaving many employers struggling to secure quality talent and manage their pipeline of work going into 2021 but is good news for skilled job seekers who are calling the shots when it comes to job opportunities.  

So why are candidates more cautious than ever when it comes to job-seeking? 

Candidates trends 

  1. Job Security is the No.1 Priority for Jobseekers  
    In a year where uncertainty has been consistent, 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.  
  2. Salary comes second to 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.  
  3. Casual and contract work is 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 candidates want and what employers are looking for.  

How to ensure peace of mind and the best job offerings 

Our advice is to do your research about the financial security, values, and employee offerings of any potential employers and to ask plenty of questions before agreeing to a new role.  

  • Ask about company performance 
    Don’t be afraid to ask any potential employers questions about their financial security and performance. You could ask how COVID-19 impacted their workplace financially and culturally. What pipeline of work or projects do they have going into 2021?   
  • Do their values align with your own? 
    View potential employers' websites and social media channels to ascertain their brand values and company culture.   
  • What is their Employee Value Proposition? 
    Be clear about any potential employers’ value proposition. What can the organisation offer you in terms of flexible work arrangements? Do they have a great company culture and social events in place? Do they use up to date technology and have sound systems and procedures in place?   

This year has been one of reflection with many Australians evaluating their employment situation, quality of life, and what’s important to them. Any fears candidates may have about changing roles in the current market can be alleviated by researching the financial security, values and employee offerings of any potential employers. 


-ABS website (October 2020 statistics)   
-Seek website