Stephen Carter, Partner at Sharp & Carter
As we enter a new year, I wanted to reflect on the year that was and look forward to what we think this new year – 2019 – may hold.
The 2018 that was.
Broadly speaking, hiring activity in 2018 remained steady without being spectacularly strong. Throughout the year we generally had a full plate of roles to recruit but were never really stretched. But we had no complaints: - Business confidence remains high and there are plenty of opportunities for candidates who are looking in the right places. More candidates have choices on where they move to, including the choice of staying in their current role and we are seeing less of a “grass is greener” mentality in candidates, which means organisations are having to work harder to attract the best candidates – a contrast to how it has been in the previous few years.
To move industries is still a challenging step for candidates, albeit some organisations are becoming more open to it. Unless at junior level, a business is usually paying a candidate for their expertise above all else. As such, if a candidate has no experience in an industry and is up against someone (usually multiple candidates) with years of experience, it becomes a tough ‘sell’ for a business to pay the same salary for the person without the expertise. However, we are noticing organisations with real talent strategies are looking beyond industry experience as their number one priority. Culture fit, team dynamic, longevity, risk of turnover and the potential future ability of a candidate are becoming more relevant in some organisations - not many, but some.
At Sharp & Carter, 2018 saw huge growth as we increased our recruiter headcount by 40%. This was driven mainly by our expansion in Sydney and the opening of our new Brisbane office, but was also supported by a well performing economy and demand for talent.
In terms of each discipline we recruit, each has traveled its own path in 2018, proving once again that each industry is its own moving piece. I asked some of our Partners, Directors and Managers for their snapshot of their markets in 2018, as follows:
FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING
Harley Thomas - Partner, Melbourne
Simon Cust - Partner, Sydney
Chris Belegrinos – Partner, Melbourne
Rima Unver – Manager, Sydney
SALES AND MARKETING
Sam Arico – Partner, Melbourne
John Corrigan – Director, Sydney
Kian Myers – Director, Sydney
Simon Marks – Partner, Queensland
PROPERTY AND CONSTRUCTION
James Wagner - Partner, Melbourne
Diana Josic – Manager, Sydney
Zoe Raphael – Director, Melbourne
TECHNOLOGY, PROJECTS AND DIGITAL
Niall O’Rourke – Director, Sydney
Ryan Lenton – Director, Melbourne
LEGAL AND COMPLIANCE
Adam Kumaraswamy – Partner, Melbourne
Simona Mayer – Partner, Melbourne
EXECUTIVE MARKET - BRISBANE
Tim Turner – Partner, Brisbane
THE OUTLOOK FOR 2019
Information is everywhere. It’s no longer about gaining information, it’s what you do with it that matters. Through LinkedIn, SEEK Talent, Facebook and social media, it’s not difficult to ‘connect’ with people these days. However, it’s the level of the relationship with your connections that is most important when it comes to best utilising your ‘network’.
In 2019, the strengthening of relationships through face-to-face meetings will be more important than ever, given the number of texts, emails, calls, social media messages and LinkedIn notes people will continue to receive daily. As this information competes more and more for people’s attention, the in-person relationship prevails even more as the most impactful way to form and build meaningful relationships, and in turn, hiring outcomes.
As is the case as each new year dawns, there are always certain risks and unknowns. It would be my opinion that the risks of 2019 will include the following:
1) Instability in the political leadership of the USA due to the Mueller investigation.
2) The trade war between the USA and China escalating and impacting the global (and Australian) economy.
3) Interest rates in Australia increasing more quickly than expected dampening the local economy.
4) The decrease of property prices together with the lack of wages growth snowballing to decrease consumer spending dramatically.
5) A “no deal” on Brexit could greatly affect the European market.
Now I am aware these risks may seem grim, and large, however at any point in time there are always risks and on balance, our expectation is for the market to continue to improve, leading to increased demand for talent across all the areas in which we recruit. There is a large suite of infrastructure projects being promised up the eastern seaboard which should add to GDP and the economy, this will mean talented professionals will be harder to find and therefore demand for quality recruitment firms that can access talent will remain strong.
Overall, I think we are in for another exciting year in 2019! Thank you to all of our customers and clients who supported us in 2018, we look forward to working with you all again in 2019 and seeing success across the board for all of you, as well as our team at Sharp & Carter.