QLD Election 2017 – Stability the winner: Resumption of the War for Talent in NQ

The weekend’s state election was the final piece of the recruitment puzzle to drop into place to ensure a big 2018 for NQ employment. Regardless of which party one feels is the best party to govern into the future, a change of government could have meant broader changes and therefore triggered short term instability. Continuity ensures the Townsville market will continue on its strong upward trajectory, and 2018 will indeed see resumption in the war for talent.

War for talent? Well, finding staff for your business is not going to be nearly as easy as it has been for the last three years. Far from it.

Go back just 12 months to mid 2016, and NQ unemployment was still close to 15%, and business confidence was at a low ebb. And that meant good people were easy to find. That though is changing, rapidly – indeed 2017 has been a transitional year for the Townsville economy and the local jobs market:

Over the course of 2017, the announcement of a number of major projects such as the stadium build,  the Burdekin pipeline, the Adani mine, along with a rallying of commodity prices (which has helped the mining sector no end) has seen business confidence return to Townsville (as evidenced by PVW partners regular business confidence survey).  The issue of sovereign risk has been eliminated with the sitting state government voted back in – that again feeds confidence. And with confidence comes jobs. At last measure (Sept 17) by the Department of Employment Townsville region unemployment levels sat at 9.1%, and the market has continued to heat up since then. The Department of Employment only measures regional unemployment levels quarterly), though here at TP Human Capital we expect that level to have dropped into the low 8s in the subsequent couple of months.

The dropping unemployment creates challenges businesses in the North hasn’t faced over the past few years, and finding good staff will be THE key challenge of 2018. Companies have gotten used to having appropriately skilled, high quality people available as and when they needed. Quite simply the market is changing.

Clayton Cook, the MD of TP Human Capital – “Most businesses are experiencing difficulties finding good staff in Townsville despite the unemployment rate still remaining stubbornly high”

“The fact is thousands of skilled people left Townsville between 2013 and 2016.  When the job market deflated, they moved to greener employment pastures. And places like Brisbane and Sydney didn’t experience any sort of downturn at all. Even now Brisbane unemployment sits around 5.5%.”

And as much as business confidence has improved, candidate confidence is still low, making for a lack of fluidity in the employment landscape. Candidates currently prefer to stick with the devil they know rather than looking at other opportunities, still perceiving a move to be risky.

“That candidate confidence tends to lag behind business confidence” Cook explained.

With business confidence swelling, and new major projects coming on line, 2018 is going to be a big year in recruitment (and also as a consequence, retension). The oft discussed “War for Talent” will return to NQ, and companies need to ensure their candidate sourcing strategies, salaries, workplace culture, value proposition and bundling of job responsibilities are nothing short of top draw if they want to retain and build a quality workforce. Invest the time (and money) to ensure you’re optimising your strategies when it comes to your people, or 2018 will prove a HR headache.

Article by Greg Pankhurst – Contact Greg today about your recruitment needs