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Let’s Talk:  Overcoming today’s labour and skills shortages

Employers are having a harder time finding essential skills in the global labour pool. Businesses all throughout the world are concerned about a labour skills gap and with reason.

Companies that are unable to fill open positions with suitable individuals will be left with overstretched resources, which will have a negative impact on the company’s short and long-term outlook. This week, we will try to figure out the ways to employ the best candidates for your business and fill key roles in the midst of a skilled labour shortage.

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Michelle T Holland, Executive Director, SynergyIQ

Michelle T Holland
Michelle T Holland, Executive Director, SynergyIQ

“There are no real simple methods, but there are ones that can be a good stop gap, and also ones that can be effective in the short term:

  1. Acting up a level, or secondments to other areas or positions – this is a great opportunity to support someone in your business to grow their skills and career. But there’s a caveat: I wouldn’t suggest putting an inexperienced manager into an acting position where they are having to lead through complexity. It’s best to provide opportunities for development and promotions when the stakes aren’t as high.
  2. Outsourcing low value work– this is an opportunity to review the amount of low value work in positions and either outsource (eg: to a VA or an agency).
  3. Get creative with Job Design – let’s say you are looking for two engineers, but you can only find one good one… take out the low value work for the engineer from the two positions (eg: admin, project coordination etc) and place it with a part-time administrator or create a ‘para-professional’ role (eg: a graduate position). This is high value work for them and gives the engineer time to focus on the high value engineering work.
  4. Outsource important projects to an expert consultant– consultants bring expertise, but they also are a great way of getting discrete projects completed without a burden on your short-staff team. Just make sure you pick the right consultant, not all consultants are good at everything – no matter what they tell you.
  5. Most importantly– make sure you continue to work on your operational effectiveness, your culture and leadership capabilities. If you have a skills shortage and you finally find someone, you don’t want to hire and lose them because of crappy systems, the culture or their leader.”

Charlie DeWitt, Managing director ANZ/SEA, UKG

Charlie DeWitt, Managing director ANZ/SEA, UKG

“There are three critical factors for small and medium-sized enterprises to consider in overcoming skills shortages:

  1. The first is to create a culture that nurtures employees in an environment where talent is retained and valuable initiatives and programs match the expectations of employees, so that they don’t seek other opportunities.
  2. The second is to ensure the best deployment of available resources through the use of an innovative workforce management (WFM) solution. This includes having the right employees rostered at the right time and for the right tasks, as well as using analytics to identify any gaps within the current workforce. The right WFM solution will facilitate self-service and flexibility for employees improving the overall employee experience. Accurate rostering will also help with fostering a positive culture and minimising unplanned absences.
  3. The third is to use the WFM to tap into your partner ecosystem, through features such as labour pooling, so that shared resources can be used to fill skills gaps where possible.”

Merlin Luck, Regional Vice President, Salesforce

Merlin Luck
Merlin Luck, Regional Vice President, Salesforce

“A staggering 87 per cent of businesses report experiencing skills gaps. Small businesses that are looking to rebuild, or scale efficiently as they grow, too often rely on skills brought in by new staff.

“With a shrinking talent pool, due to the decline in skilled immigration and low unemployment, this lack of employee knowledge can pose a difficult hurdle for business leaders to overcome.

“One approach is investing in the skills and knowledge of your existing employees. This could include harnessing learning communities such as Trailhead, a free self-paced online platform for building digital and soft skills to earn globally recognised credentials.

“Businesses can embrace the current uncertainty by turning challenge into opportunity. By investing in the learning and development of your employees, businesses can show employees that they’re valued. This will create a more united, engaged, loyal, and effective workforce that drives your business’ growth and success in a new economy.”

Christian Lucarelli, Vice President Sales APAC, Nintex

Christian Lucarelli, Vice President Sales APAC, Nintex

“Instead of defaulting to recruitment to overcome skill shortages, consider looking at the talent in your existing workforce. You know the strengths and experience your people bring to the table, and to what extent they fit into the company’s culture. Current employees likely already have a solid understanding of how things work, what systems are available, and who to connect with for context and information. It makes business sense to give current employees the opportunity to upskill and share their expertise by contributing to a different department—even if it is only for a set period of time—to fill a different role.

“Ultimately, this also supports staff retention. Exposing employees to varied work experiences gives them the opportunity to take on unexplored challenges and responsibilities, realise ambitions, and add value to new areas in meaningful ways. By thinking creatively about how skills and expertise are utilised, organisations can make a significant dent in challenges arising from ongoing skills shortages. The resulting efficiencies and engaged teams are a win for both organisations and their teams of people.”

Jason Toshack, Vice President and General Manager ANZ, Oracle NetSuite

Jason Toshack, Vice President and General Manager ANZ, Oracle NetSuite

“Thinking beyond job roles and considering the skills of their existing staff is one of the first things business leaders could do. A recent Oracle study found 34% of people want more skill development from employers, so consider training your existing workforce to tackle new challenges. Where applicable, businesses should also take a closer look at how they schedule their workforce to ensure that staffing is optimised for demand and is aligned to business conditions.

“Many businesses also find that adopting relevant technology tools has helped close the skills gap. By leveraging automation for repetitive tasks or administration, business leaders can free up staff to work on tasks that require a human touch or more strategic thinking. For example, automating tasks like accounts payable can eliminate manual data entry and associated errors, while freeing up the finance team to focus on higher value tasks that also keep them more engaged.

“Hiring the right talent is already a challenge, and with this happening during a skilled labour shortage, adds additional pressure to the business operation. It is now critical to put plans in place to help businesses have the right employees, in the right place, and at the right time.”

Shannon Karaka, Head of Expansion ANZ, Deel

Shannon Karaka
Shannon Karaka, Head of Expansion ANZ, Deel

“The number one challenge for CEOs in 2022 is ‘talent acquisition, retention and re/upskilling to meet a more digitised future’ (KPMG CEO survey). With ongoing work visa delays and a workforce that increasingly values flexibility, many Australian businesses are overcoming the skills shortage by adopting a global hiring approach to talent acquisition. In fact, Deel’s H2 Global Hiring Report found Australia is the APAC country with the most organisations hiring overseas remote workers.

“The idea is that instead of taking people to where the work is, you can take work to where the people are. This opens us a global pool of talent that can be deployed immediately thanks to platforms like Deel that handle compliance and payroll for international remote workers. Crucially, the benefits of global hiring go beyond addressing the skills shortage; businesses can expand strategically into key regions and offer unparalleled flexibility to employees who value the ‘digital nomad’ lifestyle.”

Adam Beavis, Managing Director, Stax

Adam Beavis
Adam Beavis, Managing Director, Stax

“Salary isn’t the only factor that can help attract and retain talent. People are looking for organisations that have a great brand in the market, boasting a culture that incorporates employee benefits and flexibility, a focus on diversity and inclusivity, and provides opportunities to upskill with clear career progression. Beyond that people want to work for a company that has a vision they can believe in.

“Being a fast-moving start-up or scale up, like we are at Stax, usually helps businesses attract talent. Job seekers are looking for meaning in their employment, and my advice to other businesses is to ensure you’re offering a constant flow of interesting work, opportunities for growth, and providing the right culture to support your employees’ development. At Stax, we empower our teams to explore and improve, creating an environment where every idea is valued.

“While it’s always a challenge competing against large tech companies to attract talent, we have created a team of builders by being authentic to our values. Like most employers in the tech space, Stax provides staff with a range of perks, including paid parental leave, and we have a strong commitment to maintaining a family first culture, no matter how big we grow.”

Kath Greenhough, VP APAC, Skillsoft

Kath Greenhough
Kath Greenhough, VP APAC, Skillsoft

“The Australian Government increasing the skilled migrant cap will help, but the labour market for technical professionals has become increasingly competitive and expensive. Skillsoft’s 15 top-paying certifications of 2022 show that professionals with reputable credentials enjoy more leverage in the marketplace because they’ve earned certifications recognised as trustworthy affirmations of their skills.

“As a result, companies are finding it costs to address their skill gaps through new hires and will need to rely on learning and development programs to cultivate the skills they — and their workforces — need for the future. In some ways, this is good news, as retaining existing talent is typically more cost-effective than hiring new employees.

“Our most successful customers generally are all placing greater reliance on upskilling and reskilling programs to address their growing skill gaps. They are building cultures of learning, which not only help future-proof their workforces but also have a demonstrable positive impact on employee satisfaction and retention.”

Emad Afghani, Vice president sales – ANZ, TeamViewer

Emad Afghani
Emad Afghani, Vice president sales – ANZ, TeamViewer

“To mitigate the ongoing skills gap, the next step for organisations, regardless of size, is to embrace new intelligent technology, such as augmented reality (AR). Using AR can help to improve productivity, business innovation, staff onboarding, and training. Some industries have already started leveraging AR technology for this include mining, manufacturing, and logistics.

“Three ways AR can help to overcome the skills shortage:

  1. Improved onboarding/training. AR can be used for all areas of training, from onboarding to ongoing skills development, and offers on-the-job training while monitoring the employee to guide them through tasks and ensure they are confident and capable of tasks like operating equipment safely.
  2. On-hand, constant support. Specialists can monitor, diagnose, and repair issues at any time or location by using camera-enabled AR devices.
  3. Sharing knowledge across teams and the business. Through live video streaming and recording, businesses can retain and provide hands-on training and expert knowledge from across the company that is easily accessible, ensuring consistency and immediacy.”

Jason Whyte, general manager for Pacific, Trustwave

Jason Whyte
Jason Whyte, general manager for Pacific, Trustwave

“Most Australian industries are feeling the pressure of skills shortages. Compounded by the pandemic, increased security concerns, reduced newcomers to the field, and higher levels of burnout-induced resignation, the cybersecurity industry is no different. While it may be true to some extent that there are many trained cybersecurity people in the industry, the issue is more around the level of expertise these professionals have, particularly in the SME sector or in third-party providers that SMEs bring on to protect their business.

“To combat the skills gap, it’s up to SMEs to either upskill existing teams through learning and growth opportunities and attract the right talent through having the right culture. Having the propensity to effectively upskill their own workforce and encourage a promising career trajectory will help SMEs encourage loyalty and retention. In addition, cyber specialists are looking for remote work, interesting projects, and a culture of inclusivity, openness, and diversity in a fun environment.

“SMEs should also look overcome cybersecurity skills shortages with automation and outside expert assistance. The right provider can help SMEs track, hunt, and eradicate threats, keeping them ahead in a dynamic and complex cyber environment and increasing their cybersecurity resilience to combat the evolving threat landscape.”

Chris Gibbs, Managing Director and Regional Vice President ANZ, Akamai

Chris Gibbs
Chris Gibbs, Managing Director and Regional Vice President ANZ, Akamai

“The war for skilled talent remains an issue that is affecting companies all across the globe. No where more so is this more evident than in the cyber security industry. As the threat of sophisticated cyber-attacks heighten, creating a home-grown talent pool that can counter and thwart these attacks is paramount.

“Developing this talent pool starts from encouraging secondary school students to cultivate an interest on this topic and providing an entry level into the subject of cybersecurity. This could lead to developing similar programs in high schools that already exist in partnerships with TAFE organisations.

“Another option is to tap into the current skilled mature workforce in Australia who may be looking to transition to the cybersecurity industry. These individuals often bring with them valuable experience and skills from their previous jobs and industries.

“Finally, staff retention should be a key focus for all companies. While recruitment of new employees can be a challenge, making sure that current employees are happy and engaged is key to building employee loyalty and holding on to your current talent pool. Provide professional development and career opportunities for existing staff. Also make sure that there is open two-way communication between management and employees which will allow workers to feel valued and appreciated.”

Nik Vora, Vice-President Asia-Pacific, Neo4j

Nik Vora
Nik Vora, Vice-President Asia-Pacific, Neo4j

“The skill shortage is an ongoing issue that is impacting organisations across the globe.

“For companies struggling to find new staff, employee retention plays a key role. Businesses that can keep employees happy and engaged can expect greater staff loyalty and retention.

“Two-way communication between management and staff is essential. Regular catch ups between employees and managers can help provide a great pulse check on how individuals are feeling and allow companies to take the appropriate steps to employees as needed.

“When we pivoted to a remote working model, we delivered surprise care packages and established a work from home stipend to help employees on the home front to assist them with working from home.

“To mitigate burnout, Neo4j has also added additional holidays such as Global Wellness Day every quarter, to give employees a bit more time away from work in an age where unplugging is a perpetual challenge.

“From a professional development standpoint, we’ve increased the career opportunities and budget for external learning opportunities and work closely with managers to effectively and inclusively lead diverse, remote teams to foster efficiency and a sense of belonging.”

Bill Zeng, Senior Director APAC, Poly

Bill Zeng
Bill Zeng, Senior Director APAC, Poly

“With talent shortage continuing to grow more severely along with the Great Resignation globally, employee recruitment and retention are at risk. Business leaders must proactively implement programs to help them stand out from the competition and win the right talent from a limited pool of job seekers.

“One of the top priorities for employees is flexibility. Therefore, rolling out flexible working policies will play a crucial role in attracting new talent and avoiding losing staff. Focusing on improving the employee experiences by addressing workers’ needs, being committed to supporting and driving positive cultural values, deploying a robust technology enablement approach for a mix of in-office and remote workforce, and emphasising achieving work equality while providing equal remuneration are essential part of that mix.

“These steps could be the difference in successfully attracting or losing the best talents.”

Ashik Ahmed, CEO and co-founder, Deputy

Ashik Ahmed, CEO and co-founder, Deputy

“According to Deputy’s latest report, The Big Shift, hospitality businesses in major markets are rostering 30% fewer shift work hours compared to pre-pandemic levels. These businesses relied heavily on international students and overseas workers before borders closed, and are now struggling with labour shortages. While older workers and women have entered the industry to fill this gap, much more can be done to encourage hospitality as a viable career path.

“First, businesses should introduce flexible working arrangements to make it easier for caretakers to work around childcare responsibilities. Second, businesses must prioritise their employees’ mental well-being and do their part to foster healthy workplaces where every employee feels valued. This includes creating channels for employees to share anonymous feedback and actioning them in a timely manner. Last but not least, a responsibility also falls on the government to provide greater support to hospitality businesses and increase spending on training so as to encourage more locals to consider hospitality and to close the skills gap.”

Ashley Watkins, Vice President ANZ, Trend Micro

Ashley Watkins
Ashley Watkins, Vice President ANZ, Trend Micro

“The tech talent shortage in Australia is an ongoing challenge, with cyber skills in particularly short supply. There aren’t any quick fixes, but there are things we can do today that will put us on a path to a more prosperous industry in the future.

“Australian cyber talent was impacted even further during the pandemic due to skilled professionals leaving the country, the border closures preventing new skills from entering, and important studies and teaching for the next generation being impacted. But despite this, organisations can’t let their cybersecurity posture drop – so relying on technology, the wider ecosystem, and experts, has never been more important.

“To help overcome the challenges of the skills shortage, businesses should foster deep partnerships and collaborate with trusted external providers, as they provide instant support for the IT and cyber skills gaps. Businesses should also educate their workforce about types of attacks and unusual activity, so they won’t create unnecessary extra work for an already stretched team. Finally, even if the skills aren’t an issue, a team can always only do so much. It’s important that businesses invest in the technology to provide automated, always-on extended-detection-response (XDR) support, to not only relieve the load on the team, but also empower them to step up to do more strategic work.”

Pete Murray, Managing Director ANZ, Veritas Technologies

Pete Murray, Managing Director ANZ, Veritas Technologies

“In a world where it’s almost impossible to touch anything without creating data, many businesses now have more data entering their networks than any human team can monitor.

“Veritas research reveals Australian organisations now need an additional $2.3m and 27 new IT staff each to bring their data protection up to speed.

“With just 43% of Australian leaders believing their teams have the skills to protect organisations from cyber threats, companies need to be smart if they want effective protection infrastructures against the increasing threat of ransomware.

“Adopting modern data-protection tools allows Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to reduce the need for so many employees and help retain good data-driven decision making.

“This is called Autonomous Data Management (ADM). It relies on technology platforms learning data-management practices and applying them to new data sets. With ADM, technology monitors files across a business, indexing identical data, storing only unique data, and replacing duplicates with links to original versions.

“Detecting and responding quickly to a cyber event is more critical than ever – no organisation wants to suffer the brand impact that Optus has faced following their recent incident. ADM has potential to restore the powers of big-data-decision making and put businesses back in control.”

Adam Pay, Managing Director, mycar

Adam Pay
Adam Pay, Managing Director, mycar

“With Australia’s skills shortage being the second highest in the OECD, and technicians and trade occupations facing the most significant skill shortages, it’s imperative we start thinking differently. It’s anticipated the automotive sector will have 41,000 job vacancies by the end of 2022.

“With limited access to international talent markets, businesses are being forced to re-think how to attract and retain talent. We need to look at growing our own, and investing in reskilling and upskilling programs, specifically:

  • Appealing to the next generation: Businesses in trade-based roles must modernise their approach to talent acquisition. Trade-based roles present effective pathways to long-term and rewarding careers, so we need to reshape the stereotype of a ‘trade’ job to encourage new talent and demonstrate rewarding careers outside of those associated with a university degree. It’s important to help address our ongoing skills shortage, and there’s a rising trend in trade professions providing real career growth.
  • Investing in reskilling and upskilling programs: Upskilling team members is crucial for the automotive sector in the coming years, to equip workers with the skills needed for technological industry disruption and long-term career opportunities. This includes creating long-term partnerships with education providers to develop ongoing training opportunities.”

Paul Soong, Regional Director ANZ, e2open

Paul Soong
Paul Soong, Regional Director ANZ, e2open

“Whilst the skills shortage is impacting all industries across Australia, it is hitting our logistics and manufacturing industry hard with most already stretched thin by a relentless supply chain crisis. Organisations have even had to adjust to shorter lead times and a much faster turnover of goods as a direct result from changing consumer demands.

“As these impacts linger on, businesses need to ensure better use of their human resources by leveraging systems that can increase visibility of their goods at any stage of the supply chain and help manage unexpected problems that may arise.

“Logistics visibility allows for businesses to be aware of the real-time status of their goods across any leg or region so that if disruptions emerge, they are easily identified. This allows for human resources to be optimised in a more valuable and effective way as effort can be focused on the small orders that are actually facing problems, rather than using labour to concentrate on all orders that are running smoothly.

“Additionally, businesses who are looking to maximise the upcoming shopping seasons should focus on simplifying the labour input in the purchase and returns process. Providing access to support, FAQs and even self-serve returns with clear information on the processes, can minimise the resource required to manage each order.

“As Australia continues to navigate the skills shortage, it is more important than ever for businesses to rethink processes that can be simplified, and where human effort can be refocused to produce more valuable outcomes.”

Paul King, Director – Product solutions engineering, construction, Bentley Systems

Paul King
Paul King, Director – Product solutions engineering, construction, Bentley Systems

“Across the globe, infrastructure spending is ramping up, but there are concerns that the rate of new people joining the workforce isn’t sufficient to support this future growth. One way to overcome this issue is to focus on the digitisation of the industry and what future jobs will look like. Since the pandemic outbreak, issues of mental and physical health have increased dramatically for many people, especially young workers. In addition, there has also been a dramatic shift in the importance of a work-life balance.

“The digitisation of construction means that the definition of what it means to work in the industry has expanded beyond working long hours on a construction site. While there will always be people working on site to construct buildings and infrastructure, a digital future means that there are a vast host of roles that support the construction process. Highlighting these non-traditional construction roles such as data scientists, sustainability specialists, robotics experts, drone operators, logistics planners and material scientists, is key to generating excitement in the construction industry amongst new workers.”

Lisa Virgo, Chief People Officer, Tic:Toc

Lisa Virgo
Lisa Virgo, Chief People Officer, Tic:Toc

“The rising cost of living and inflation means salary will continue to be a consideration for employees who are seeing their buying power drop. However, as people are fundamentally rethinking their careers, now more than ever, they want to contribute to a broader purpose and feel valued.

“This value exchange needs to be factored into an employer’s broader value proposition and hiring process. Consider what you can offer both prospective and current employees with regard to development and training, company culture and opportunities for career progression. Additionally, companies should also be thinking about long term incentives linked to achieving business success, rather than only individual performance.

“We talk often about the first 100 employees being responsible for hiring the next 100. It is up to us to create a workplace we are proud of, that people want to join and are actively involved in contributing towards the company’s success.

“At Tic:Toc, our values are deeply embedded into the business and the decisions we make – when a clear direction is set for people to navigate and be successful, it creates a level of transparency, connectivity and community. We are grateful that our approach has been welcomed by our people, with 93% of our employees saying it is a great place to work compared to 56% of employees at a typical Australia-based company.”

Damon Pal, Head of Asia Pacific, HireVue

Damon Pal
Damon Pal, Head of Asia Pacific, HireVue

“With most occupations experiencing skills shortages across Australia, employers have to be resourceful in their approach to secure top candidates.

“One key resource businesses already have is their existing employees. Ensuring the career development of your staff is as high on your list as it is on theirs is the first step to plugging the skills gap. Support them by launching internal training and mentorship programs, providing access to external education courses and certifications, or provide the necessary flexibility for your employees to go back to University part-time so they can come back to work stronger and more fulfilled.

“If hiring internally for a skilled role is not an option, make sure diversity plays a part in your recruitment process. Not only do candidates from a variety of economic backgrounds, races, genders and neurological distinctions make for a more productive and open-minded workforce, they will also become a drawcard for new talent. In fact, our most recent Global Hiring report revealed that hiring managers will increasingly source talent including mature aged workers (47%), neurodiverse workers (29%), non-permanent residents (28%) and veterans (21%) to help overcome skills shortages.”

Michael Savanis, Chief Revenue Officer, NextMinute

Michael Savanis
Michael Savanis, Chief Revenue Officer, NextMinute

“Even prior to the pandemic, skilled resources in Australia were at a premium. However, the pandemic has only exacerbated this shortage as the economy has gained momentum. The good news is that there are a number of initiatives that can help to at least bridge the gap.

“First up, businesses can look to re-train their most valuable asset – their existing employees – to higher priority roles.  A longer-term strategy could include engaging with educational institutions to gain access to the graduate market by offering internships or indeed training undergraduates while they’re still completing their degree qualifications.

“Why not consider being open to offshore resources via organisations such as Deel and Remote Resources, or accessing the contingent workforce on an as needed basis?  Indeed, today, some people may work for multiple organisations at the same time as we increasingly place value on freedom and flexibility and finding fulfilling work whilst balancing family and leisure.

“Another program might be to implement an internal employee referral program that incentivises internal employees to act as recruiters.  Also, consider fractional human resources provided by consultancies on a pay-as-you-need basis as well as part-time roles for those that have either retired or are approaching retirement.”

Jonathan Perumal, Country Manager ANZ, Safeguard Global

Jonathan Perumal, Country Manager ANZ, Safeguard Global

“With the updated 2022 Skills Priority List finding that 286 occupations have skills shortages across Australia, up from 153 last year, it’s important businesses are doing everything they can to secure the best possible talent.

“Expanding recruitment to a global talent pool is one of the best short-term solutions to the national skills shortage, and can be easier than it seems to execute.

“Now that borders are open, there is renewed interest in migrating to Australia. Recent analysis by Safeguard Global found a 116% year on year increase in the frequency that the term ‘Skilled Migration’ is searched in Australia. Additionally, more businesses are willing to recruit overseas with The Australian Information Industry Association’s (AIIA) 2022 annual member survey finding more than a third of companies would hire an even mix of workers from Australia and overseas.

“Hiring globally is a great method for overcoming the immediate skill shortage because it’s not only a quick way to hire the best talent anywhere in the world, but it also provides businesses with long term solutions with the possibility of permanently migrating talent to Australia when a good working relationship between the employer and employee is formed.”

Malcolm Kinns, CEO, Generation Australia

Malcolm Kinns
Malcolm Kinns, CEO, Generation Australia

“As the skills shortage widens in Australia, a more tailored, demand-led approach that engages marginalised talent is required to immediately address Australia’s stressed labour market.

“There are three key elements required to ensure the success of this approach:

  • Firstly, tapping into traditionally overlooked pools of talent, including First Nations Australians, Australians living with a disability, migrants, youth and female workers, by supporting them to overcome the barriers to employment.
  • Secondly, partnering with organisations from in-demand sectors to design accelerated training programs that equip participants with the specific skills and mindset for long term career success.
  • Lastly, specific government funding for organisations that offer evidence-based solutions that provide opportunities for candidates to enter roles in sectors experiencing the worst shortages (such as tech, aged and disability care) so they can scale, at pace. Organisations like Generation Australia.”

Paul Hadida, General Manager APAC, SevenRooms

Paul Hadida, General Manager APAC, SevenRooms

“Skills shortages have become one of the defining issues in the wake of the pandemic. In the hospitality industry – one of Australia’s most significant in terms of both its economic and social contribution – the issue has been particularly pronounced. Technology, though, can play a substantial role in mitigating the impacts of skills shortages. Specifically, technology that allows businesses to do more with less, by automating the time-consuming, mundane and non-revenue generating tasks that once required human involvement.

“For example, rather than requiring an employee to manually log reservations, take down orders and facilitate payments, these processes can be automated through online bookings and contactless order and pay via QR codes. Through these processes, businesses are not only able to alleviate skills shortages, but drive loyalty and, therefore, revenue too. Through the approved data collected, businesses can understand individual customers’ habits and preferences then send personalised, automated marketing that boosts loyalty. When businesses can automate these previously time-consuming, manual processes they can simultaneously alleviate the impact of skills shortages and spend more time providing the face-to-face, meaningful interactions consumers demand.”

Richard Davies, Area Director ANZ, Lacework

Richard David
Richard Davies, Area Director ANZ, Lacework

“Recent high-profile incidents have further necessitated the need to ramp up security efforts. Given Australia is facing a chronic shortage of security workers – the question is, how?

“While addressing the tech talent shortage requires a deliberate and long-term effort – there are some immediate steps small businesses can take now. Firstly, they should investigate where employees are spending their time to free up resource. Staff may be tied up in process driven admin or working on tasks that aren’t aligned to business objectives. Then businesses should review their tech stack and simplify. Remember – the more specialised tools, the more skills needed to support them.

“Next, assess the technology landscape and identify new solutions to alleviate the strain on resource, likely through automation. The technology landscape evolves so fast that there are almost certainly new tools available now that weren’t only a few years ago. Finally, ensure adequate planning on how to implement and operationalise the technology, as this will define its success.”

Liam Dermody, Director, Red Team, Darktrace

Liam Dermody
Liam Dermody, Director, Red Team, Darktrace

“Solving the cyber security job shortage requires collective efforts from government, industry and academic organisations. We can’t wait around for the next generation to go through years of traditional cyber-specific education. Instead, there are three steps we should take:

Broaden our definition of top tech talent: Organisations mustn’t have unrealistic expectations such as requiring CISSP certification for an entry level role. This certification requires five years of experience and insisting on it is losing candidates with potential at the first hurdle.

Mathematicians, scientists, and engineers are critical to creating fundamental technology. But it takes more than just individuals with this skillset to build a standout company. Even in cyber security, we need linguists, philosophers, artists, storytellers, and ethicists too if we are to truly solve challenges with innovation.

Support on the Job learning: Businesses can save time and money in the long run by hiring eager candidates and investing in both upskilling them and defensive technologies that support in-house training. At Darktrace we hire bright, curious people, and train them up on the job – as a result, even our R&D team is full of a range of degrees from Linguistics to History degrees. Cyber security education is important but we can’t expect everyone to come from a cyber degree.

Make sure you are doing something different and do it with purpose – It’s no easy feat but if you are creating breakthrough, world-first technologies then the best and brightest minds will want to join you. In Darktrace’s case, we created a very different kind of technology to that being explored at your typical AI company. Take your world-first innovations and be clear about what challenge you are determined to solve – everyone wants to be part of something bigger than themselves.”

Chris McDonald, VP of Growth, Cloudstaff

Chris McDonald
Chris McDonald, VP of Growth, Cloudstaff

“When the skills you need to grow your business simply aren’t to be found in Australia, it’s time to think more broadly and look beyond Australia’s borders.

“Our research shows that while 76% of Australian businesses admit that finding skilled staff is the single biggest issue facing their business, more than half (52%) would not consider hiring offshore. These Australian businesses appear to have a blind spot when it comes to considering all their options to solve the twin challenges of finding skilled labour and managing their cost base, despite 1/3 of those surveyed knowing of other businesses in their industry already offshoring a range of business functions.

“In many cases, attitudes towards employing overseas workers haven’t caught up with the reality of the broad types of work and quality of skills available to Australian companies. With unemployment at record lows in Australia, companies need to consider all options when it comes to employing specialist skills. We believe it’s time to end the secrecy and the stigma around offshoring.”

Con Kittos, Executive Chairman, Asuria

Con Kittos
Con Kittos, Executive Chairman, Asuria

“I know that some businesses will insist that the answer to overcoming skills shortages lies outside their organisations, expecting and assuming solutions from government or educational institutions will fix the problem.

“However, if businesses are waiting on the answers from government, unions and industry, then they might be waiting far longer than they are comfortable with.

“In the meantime, business and industry should stop looking to hire for experience; there are just not enough experienced people about.

“They should stop using resumes as the source of truth, since resumes only highlight what the few remaining unemployed people in the community don’t have.

“Rather they should be looking to hire on basic employability skills: communication, teamwork, problem-solving, initiative and enterprise, learning skills, and self-management skills. And then training people in the rest of the job.

“This obviously won’t work for those highly specialised jobs, but for most of the jobs in the market today, this is surely a better solution to keeping a business growing while the longer-term solutions from government are developed.”

Jornt Moerland, Regional Vice President at Asia Pacific, Mendix

Jornt Moerland
Jornt Moerland, Regional Vice President at Asia Pacific, Mendix

“The skills shortage is a reality felt throughout many different industries, but it’s undeniable that for Australians it’s been a rising challenge within the technology sector. The Tech Council of Australia identified that vacancy rates in tech are 60% higher than the national average, with the most severe gaps featured in technical occupations like software programmers and computer network professionals. This is a grim scenario for companies that need to develop and deliver critical applications to achieve their business goals. There needs to be a solution that can help organisations continue their digital transformation journey despite the shortage in full-fledged IT professionals.

“While traditional software development requires in-depth knowledge of programming languages using waterfall methodology, low-code application development platforms, like Mendix, do all the hard work behind the scenes, empowering IT professionals to build software applications and meet business needs with enhanced ease and ten times faster than usual, despite the talent shortage.

“Using a mix of enterprise-grade visual development approach, drag-and-drop components, model-driven logic and intuitive interface, the platform also greatly reduces the barrier to entry in application development, giving domain experts from different business units the ability to develop technology solutions that logically work for their teams.”

Michelle Mowle, Global Head of Talent and Culture, Pureprofile

Michelle Mowle
Michelle Mowle, Global Head of Talent and Culture, Pureprofile
  1. Identify the skills, knowledge and expertise that will be required to deliver on your strategy to future-proof your business and ensure your workforce is skilled to deliver on its business growth priorities.
  2. Develop career paths and invest in learning platforms – at Pureprofile we work closely with our learning partners to ensure our teams are upskilled now and in the future. It’s also critical to support your subject matter experts to actively participate in industry events, learn about emerging trends and integrate them into the business.
  3. Broaden your search for talent – as a key component of our talent acquisition strategy, Pureprofile has diversified our team & deepened our expertise by hiring in multiple markets where required skills are evolving more rapidly.
  4. Reshape roles to better align with your team’s natural talents and strengths, rather than taking a fixed view that they must perform a role as it’s rigidly defined.
  5. Ensure your retention strategy aligns with the needs of your workforce – investing heavily in upskilling your workforce must be coupled with regularly tuning into what your team is seeking in terms of reward, motivation, engagement and well-being to ensure the skills are retained and deliver on positive business outcomes.”

Luan Tran, CTO, Cyara

Luan Tran
Luan Tran, CTO, Cyara

“We adopted the mindset that to find the best people we need to be proactive, so we stopped relying on recruitment agencies and invested in our talent acquisition team. Our hiring managers are trained to identify transferable skills buried within a CV and if candidates don’t have the skills needed for the role they have applied for, the team looks for other roles within the company.

“Once new employees have joined us, they access career development planning which enables us to identify where additional training can support growth and career aspirations. Developing internal programmes sits at the very core of our talent strategy.

“More broadly, enterprise leaders must play their part in supporting a new generation of tech talent. Our team collaborates with universities on six-month-long internship programmes, which gives students the opportunity to actively imagine, design and build new technologies and systems, while working with industry to develop job-ready skills.”

Matthew Thomson, Sr. Vice President Software and Solution Sales, APJ, Kofax

Matthew Thomson
Matthew Thomson, Sr. Vice President Software and Solution Sales, APJ, Kofax

“Managing warehouse orders, storage, and delivery in the past have been relatively straight forward, however, supply chain challenges caused by our current skill shortages has added additional layers of complexity. Today, it is crucial to be able to manage and plan for delays, no shows and frequent reskilling. In fact, the past two years have seen more changes to the way we work than during the previous 10 years, predominately due to Covid. Staff shortages and turnover issues increase organisation workloads and can create issues at every point of the supply chain. By using digital workflows to automate solutions, companies can ensure processes keep moving and even update customers on the progress of their orders. Enabling organisations to gather unstructured data and automatically implement it into the right systems faster, automation helps speed up the workflow. This reduces time spent on bookings, checking inventory stock levels, managing deliveries, and customer communication.

“Supply chain woes aren’t going to go away any time soon, here in Australia and globally, but with the right technology, organisations can minimise the impact of supply chain and staffing problems, getting products and services to customers faster and improving the bottom line.”


Graham Glass

“There will inevitably come a time when your company will experience a lack of skilled employees or even a decrease of skilled workers within the industry in which you operate. One way to address this issue is to focus on long-term viable solutions such as personalised learning paths for skill-building. This method is paramount for companies that want to not only attract new staff, but also retain their top talent. As people have different learning preferences, interests and expectations, it is important to ensure that tailored training programs meet individual demands.

“Another great method for overcoming skill shortages is to consider how existing employees might be able to fulfill other roles – assess current employee skill sets and see how you can transfer their skills into other positions within the business. Staff retention is essential, as you don’t want to lose the knowledgeable employees you already have. Aim to create a positive company culture where people want to stay – show that your organisation fosters and supports employee development and career progression.”

David New, Head of APAC, Ignition

David New
David New, Head of APAC, Ignition

“I’ve never seen the SMB professional services employment market like it is today. It seems like everyday I’m having a conversation with accountants about their difficulties in finding suitable hires. The conversation inevitably leads to the impact on the workplace culture and ways to alleviate impact on current teams.

“We looked into it and our recent State of Client Engagement report validated a common issue in professional services which is employees delay or avoid having awkward client conversations like out-of-scope work or chasing clients for payments.

“While at surface level this may not seem a big issue, the impact is employees are working longer hours, have low morale and are taking sick leave and time away from work because of the stress. What’s worse, we found a third of business owners said staff had quit. The survey also highlights how an accepted culture of overservice and overworking could impact employee wellbeing, engagement and retention.

“By understanding the factors that could be affecting your ability to attract and retain staff, you can then build cultures and programs that reflect what employees need and want, creating great places to work. For example, creating a culture that emphasises the importance of employee health and wellness to combat overwork. Or adopting solutions that reduce client overservice, automate admin processes and improve employee productivity.

“Another way to combat skill shortages is to upskill or retrain existing employees. Free, online certification programs like Ignition’s Certification Program are a great way to broaden or strengthen employees’ professional skill sets to address workforce gaps and emphasise employees’ long-term skill development and career planning opportunities.”

Kim Seeling Smith, CEO, Ignite Global

Kim Seeling Smith
Kim Seeling Smith, CEO, Ignite Global

“When recruiting you must think radically differently, you must stand out from the crowd.

“Don’t write your own job ad, hire an expert to help you understand what you offer that’s truly unique and hire a marketing firm to help you write a job ad that appeals to your candidate pool.

“Treat candidates well. Provide an exceptional recruitment experience. Make it easy, make it fast and make it enjoyable.

“Think about the tasks that need to be done like a jigsaw. Which pieces can be automated? Which pieces can be done by someone overseas? Which can be done by someone with the right skills, but no experience in your industry?

“Make sure you also have a broad pool of candidates by considering job share, older workers and people with disabilities; and up-skill your existing staff.

“Lastly, look to boost employee retention by ensuring you have quality managers and team leaders. Study those managers and supervisors who everyone wants to work for. What do they have that the others don’t? Hire, train and promote for those characteristics.”

Elise Balsillie, Head of Thryv Australia

Elise Balsillie
Elise Balsillie, Head of Thryv Australia

“Our latest research on the state of small businesses in Australia revealed that nearly 3 in 10 (28%) small business owners say they are not digitally savvy, yet 7 in 10 (69.9%) agree they need to be digitally savvy for their business to be successful.

“Specifically, many small business owners understand the importance of a social media presence but find it very overwhelming, time-consuming or both. Tasks pertaining to this realm in particular tend to slip towards the end of their to-do list as a result.

“The good news is that a Customer Relationship Management software can act as (the much needed!) extra set of hands a small business owner often needs. This offers the capability to centralise and automate tasks across all social media platforms.

“Not only is it possible to browse pre-designed posts and copy that can be adapted to suit any brand, but users can also access Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more from a single place and schedule posts for publication ahead of time.”

Kudzai Mhishi, Director in Accounting, BlueRock

Kudzai Mhishi
Kudzai Mhishi, Director in Accounting, BlueRock

“In competitive industries with highly sought-after skills, the cost of employment can rapidly get out of hand for businesses – especially smaller businesses experiencing tighter cash flow as a result of ambitious growth plans.

“Companies with high future value and limited access to immediate funding can look to offer an Employee Share Scheme (ESS) as a way to compensate and retain staff with future wealth. Therefore a higher market value of shares will result in a higher personal net wealth for employees in the future.

“The scheme also shifts the mindset within a business by encouraging staff to go beyond their daily tasks and pursue an active role in building the business. The metrics in which Employee Share Schemes can be issued can be either reaching key metrics for the entire business as a whole or an employee reaching key milestones in a defined period of time. When an ESS is linked to length of tenure, this too can assist with retention in that a lock-up period exists to prevent an employee from selling their shares or receiving income for several years.

“Employee Share Schemes have various tax benefits such as concessions and tax-deferral arrangements, but it’s important to structure and implement your ESS in the right way to avoid costly mistakes when it comes to the complexity of legal, accounting and tax implications.”

Thomas Amos, CEO and Co-Founder, Sidekicker

Thomas Amos
Thomas Amos, CEO and Co-Founder, Sidekicker

“As worker shortages continue and job vacancies skyrocket, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to secure talent. And as we move into the Christmas period, competition is only going to increase – particularly amongst the hospitality, retail and logistics industries.

“Recruiting permanent staff is a time consuming and costly process – one of the quickest and easiest ways to bolster team numbers is with the addition of temporary workers. Temp workers and casual contractors are highly skilled, pre-vetted, and can immediately deliver on tasks with minimal training. With very little notice required to secure temp workers, teams can be scaled up and down as needed. And with another COVID-19 wave expected to hit Australia around December, temporary workers can help keep businesses afloat should multiple staff fall sick.”

Nadine O’Regan, General Manager, TQSolutions

Nadine O’Regan
Nadine O’Regan, General Manager, TQSolutions

“Businesses are operating through an unprecedented skills shortage, with almost 20% of Australian occupations struggling to attract and retain talent. Here are some strategies you can implement now to embed talent in your business or find it when you need to look externally:

  1. Focus on the talent you have: offering your existing people new opportunities to be mobile within the business via stretch assignments or mini projects can develop the skills of your people, but also improve retention.
  2. Develop your people: investing in upskilling or reskilling your people can be highly valuable. It means you’re no longer looking at talent as a supply chain, but as a way to unlock the full potential of the people already within your business.
  3. If you do need to recruit externally: broaden your talent pool and think creatively about where to find these skills. Utilise hyper-personalised sourcing strategies to attract talent and convert them quickly. Look for transferable skills rather than ‘purple unicorns’.
  4. Remunerate fairly: now is not the time to try and bag a bargain. Make sure you are benchmarking remuneration externally and do whatever you can to keep your existing people engaged. Also consider meaningful benefits that will resonate with your people to continue their loyalty to the business.”

Renata Bastalic, General Manager – People and Culture, Tecala

Renata Bastalic–Tecala
Renata Bastalic, General Manager – People and Culture, Tecala

“Today, the experience which an organisation provides as an employer is critical in finding and keeping talent.

“When it comes to recruitment, attracting great employees is significantly easier if your organisation has earned a reputation as a great place to work.  Meanwhile, offering a seamless onboarding experience can ensure new starters get off on the right foot.

“Fail to focus on all the elements that keep employees engaged and committed – think supportive workplace culture, attractive career paths, ample professional development opportunities, competitive remuneration and a compelling benefits package – and you’re condemned to the hiring merry-go-round.

“Businesses also need to make a serious commitment to fostering talent internally; taking on rookie recruits and equipping them with the skills they need to kickstart successful careers.

“Through homegrown talent, we’ve developed a culture of learning, rich in diversity and experiences.  Here at Tecala we have introduced the Tecala Learning Academy, leadership programs and mentoring plans for our most promising individuals.

“Leveraging talent where differing industry skills can be reapplied to the technology environment has been an invaluable asset for us. We’ve taken chances on those wishing to get their first break into the workforce as well as those embarking on a career transition.”

Peter Murphy, Head of Consulting, Atturra Advisory

Peter Murphy
Peter Murphy, Head of Consulting, Atturra Advisory

“There are a range of steps managers can take to overcome the skills shortages currently plaguing many organisations.

“The first is to forge a closer working relationship with the HR department. This will ensure those responsible for recruitment clearly understand the types of skills and experience required to help the organisation function in a highly competitive environment.

“Another is to be aware that potential new staff are looking for more than just a healthy pay packet. Managers need to ensure they have in place everything from flexible working patterns to leave entitlements and training allowances.

“Also, it’s important that an organisation can offer new hires appropriate and satisfying work to undertake. Rather than feeling as though they are stuck in a dead-end position, staff need to be able to see a clear and achievable career path that will help them to grow as individuals.”

Rob Bright, Founder and CEO, Cloud Assess

Rob Bright
Rob Bright, Founder and CEO, Cloud Assess

“To maintain productivity during a global skills shortage businesses need to maximise their existing workforce talent. That demands automating repetitive processes to free up staff for mission-critical work.

“To do this efficiently businesses need to better leverage cost-effective cloud-based technologies to train, upskill and reskill their workforce rapidly.

Research shows cloud services deliver improved operational efficiency and growth. In Australia, small to medium businesses can access new tax offsets to support their adoption of new technologies and to deliver workforce training.

“Today’s digital training solutions, like Cloud Assess, are visually engaging, intuitive, accessible and as easy to use as Facebook. Employees and trainees can access content on their device of choice, be it a smartphone or tablet, bringing learning to the floor, or whenever and wherever it suits them. Critically, employers have instant visibility of their workforce skills base, giving them control over the key driver of their business operations – their people.

“Upskilling staff not only builds their capabilities but also makes for happier and more committed employees as our research shows – a win for everyone.”

Rolf Howard, Managing Partner, Owen Hodge Lawyers

Rolf Howard, Managing Partner, Owen Hodge Lawyers

“Competition for skilled talent is uniquely fierce at the moment. Employers have two options; to compete more effectively for skilled talent by offering them more incentives or find unique ways to locate untapped skilled talent.

“One of the key perks that attracts and retains employees is the ability to work flexibly and from home. The pandemic gave employees a taste of what it’s like to work remotely and many don’t want to go back to working in the “old way”. Employees enjoy having more flexibility to fit work around family and other commitments, reducing their commute time and gaining greater control over their time.

“By offering flexibility and creating hybrid workplaces, not only will employers be able to more effectively compete for skilled talent, they will also widen the talent pool by being able to employ people interstate or offshore.

“Legally, employers just need to make sure all their ducks are in a row in regard to formalising and documenting remote working provisions. They also need to be careful when engaging remote or offshore talent to ensure they are complying with the rules around contractors such as when to pay superannuation or workers compensation.”

Suzette Bailey, CEO and co-Founder, reKnow

Suzette Bailey
Suzette Bailey, CEO and co-Founder, reKnow

“Skill shortages have become a fact of life, and I don’t expect them to go away soon. There’s short and long-term steps you can take to reduce the impact on your business.

“In the short-term, you may be able to contract skills into your business via university interns or gig workers. Interns need training and management, so you must weigh benefit against the time it costs to supervise and coach them. Gig workers can be fantastic on projects, but it’s risky to put them in charge of ongoing work as they may go elsewhere at short notice.

“In the mid-term you may be able to hire lower skilled workers and train them up, leveraging grants and other support from governments. This can develop loyal and well-skilled staff, but risks workers leaving once trained due to opportunities elsewhere.

“In the long-term the best option for most businesses is to automate what they can, using artificial intelligence to perform repetitive tasks and processes. You can then redeploy staff to higher value tasks.”

David Burrows, Director of Workforce Planning, Pearson

David Burrows
David Burrows, Director of Workforce Planning, Pearson

“Talk of a skills shortage can sound confronting on paper but the reality is that it’s more simple to address than you might think. Learning institutions can’t equip their graduates for every possible scenario they may face in a constantly-changing business environment, and it’s up to employers to put opportunities in front of their employees to help them fill these gaps. Short courses are one of the easiest ways to add more arrows to the proverbial quiver of specific skills. Whether it’s a course on financial literacy, data science or creative writing, short courses help learners to fill the gaps that their previous education experiences didn’t provide. Employers who are seeing gaps between work that needs to be done and the capabilities of their staff should undertake an audit to identify the missing pieces and invest in courses that address specific needs.”

Annie Sheehan, ANZ Head, Project Management Institute

Annie Sheehan
Annie Sheehan, ANZ Head, Project Management Institute

“With the ongoing skills shortage, businesses must be more innovative in their approach to work and investment in upskilling.

“One practical approach is looking at workflow from a project lens, with project management frameworks as the driving force for consistent and efficient delivery of outcomes. This trend of ‘projectised work’ is only set to increase, with PMI forecasting the need for 25 million new project professionals globally by 2030 to tackle talent gaps.

“However, this project-oriented mindset is not limited to the ‘project manager’ title; the broader business can also benefit from implementing it. Simple methods include:

  • Introducing project-based learning, such as through certificates or micro-credentials. These retain and attract workers by tapping into their desire to seek new skills.
  • Building a strong internal culture of ongoing L&D empowering employees to enhance their personal and work skills. According to research from PMI, 37% of respondents believe that their organisation has adequately prioritised learning and development opportunities.
  • Leveraging new technologies that deliver innovative ways of working, allowing employees to work efficiently in a hybrid environment.
  • Adopting agile business practices that increase organisational resilience and improve the ability to respond to change.”

David Jenkins, CEO, Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA)

David Jenkins
David Jenkins, CEO, Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA)

“For those employing, the current skills shortage is a major challenge, one that requires multiple strategies to make an impact now and into the future. All organisations need to ensure they are striving for employer of choice status and standing out in the marketplace.

  1. Win the competition to attract top talent by offering a great work environment
    Organisations need to provide enjoyable and flexible workplaces which means leaders need to prioritise managing workplace culture and ensuring that employees are supported and challenged to grow their skills. Organisations then need to design strategies to communicate these attributes to their marketplace.
  2. Invest in quality training to upskill your current staff
    Provide your team with formal and informal mentoring and educational courses to retain staff and upskill their capabilities to match the changing needs of your organisation. Teaching people rather than ‘buying in’ new skills is fundamental to showing you care about your staff, builds confidence and insulates your company against challenges.

We know that formal training has an immediate impact because 67% of participants from our Professional Certificate of Asset Management Planning reported an uplift in skills that they were able to instantly apply to their work, benefiting them and their employers.”

Peter Tudehope, General Manager, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney

Peter Tudehope
Peter Tudehope, General Manager, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney

“The hotel industry was hit hard during the pandemic with the biggest causality being the loss of experienced workers to other industries. Hotel recruitment today means taking more of a risk with people that have never worked in the industry before. Flexibility is key.

“People are looking for a more balanced work/life structure and want to work for an employer that offers not just a wage, it is about creating a culture within the hotel that says ‘we care about you as a person’. Offering flexible work shifts and adopting technology solutions that will help hotels to match work supply and demand, are two ways the industry can address the skills shortage.

“The long-term success of a hotel depends on how well they train and look after their team. Hotels delivering a 5 Star experience need to offer a consistent level of service, a hard task when rebuilding the knowledge and experience required with teams new to the industry. Controlling the level of occupancy so they can maintain the 5 Star service, without employee burnout is one solution.

“At the end of the day, the soul of a hotel comes from the people running and working the operation.”

Brad Giles, Founder of Evolution Partners and author of Onboarded

Brad Giles
Brad Giles, Founder of Evolution Partners and author of Onboarded

“There are many options if you’re challenged by the current skills shortage. One option is to take a longer term view, and look at attrition, and consider how many people you hire that need replacing. Across Australia and New Zealand the average attrition is 17%. In other words the average firm loses 17 people out of 100 each year. In another survey once 18 months have passed around 46% of newly-hired employees have failed, having been pushed out, fired, or having quit.

“One of the best ways to reduce attrition is through an effective onboarding process. The employee review website Glassdoor recently found that organisations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by over 70 percent. However in my global research study 83% of organisations have an onboarding process of 14 days or less, with almost 50% of the total being less than seven days. Yet, the data also demonstrated that the real impact of onboarding continually increases from 30 to 90 days. The vast majority of onboarding processes have a duration that is simply too short to produce a tangible impact on either productivity or retention. Perhaps the best way to avoid limited job applicants is to not need job applicants in the first place.”

Willie Pang, CEO, Limepay

Willie Pang
Willie Pang, CEO, Limepay

“The skills shortage has placed significant strain on businesses across all industries, particularly in the STEM sectors. But what many don’t realise is that the solution is quite literally right in front of them. The simplest method to overcome the shortage is to look at ways in which you can upskill and train your existing team members to access the immediate skills required to support your business.

“The opportunity to upskill not only demonstrates to your team members that they are valued and supported in their career ambitions, but it also helps fill an emerging skills gap — it’s a win-win. In fact, research shows that younger demographics care about their personal development more than they do about their remuneration.

“It’s important to remember, this isn’t about overloading the capacity of your team members. It’s about working smarter and empowering team members to pursue their passions that align with business priorities, while placing less important tasks on the backburner. Through upskilling we’ve successfully filled gaps in our marketing and customer success teams at Limepay. In return, our team members have rewarded us by showing loyalty and continuous passion day in and day out.”

Tony Clark, Founder and CEO, Backpack Bed for Homeless

Tony Clark
Tony Clark, Founder and CEO, Backpack Bed for Homeless
  • Be honest.
  • Have you done everything else you’re supposed to do – or are you jumping the gun?
  • If you want to contract a skill to a third party – cowboys beware – use your nose, instinct and wise referrals if possible. When they start using the same irritating terms – you then know if you have an irritating parrot or a thinker.
  • Call a University – ask the lecturer who was the best in their class.
  • Simplify, do you really need what’s going through your head?  What is the minimum that will succeed that isn’t influenced by a vanity skill?
  • Weigh it up – depending on the task and length – sometimes it’s easier to do it yourself.
  • If money is no option – pay the dollars with a signing fee and moving fee (if applicable).”

JJ Phillips, Director, MIP, The Data School

JJ Phillips
JJ Phillips, Director, MIP, The Data School

“Paying people to learn, either through apprenticeships or specific training courses, is one of the primary ways to address skill shortages. It attracts people who treat the skill they are being taught as an opportunity rather than a requirement.

“In an area like data analytics, there’s a critical shortage of well trained and experienced people to meet current needs. At the Data School our aim is to create the next generation of great data analysts and consultants. Our cohorts are paid while they train and throughout their two year, on site assignments, and routinely graduate to six figure salaries.

“Once skilled and qualified, they are then supported by our network of highly-experienced, senior data analysts so they are never left to fend for themselves.

“In short, payment, high quality coaching and ongoing senior support will go a long way meeting the current skills gap.”

Ben Shipley, Head of Growth, Trust The Process

Ben Shipley
Ben Shipley, Head of Growth, Trust The Process

“How do we find, attract and retain talent? This is one of the big questions of our time in business. Especially small businesses where we don’t have the brands and the budgets of the big players.

“However, the big question now becomes “Where do I find, attract and retain talent”?

“Given the slim pickings of the onshore talent pool, small businesses are finding that Offshoring and Outsourcing (Outsourcing can be onshore so is its own separate thing) is the simplest method to overcoming their skill shortages, when the work being done does not require physical presence.

“Having run teams in over 30 countries, I can honestly say that remote and culturally diverse teams can pose some challenges unfamiliar to Australian business owners and offshoring has had it’s bad press over the years but those challenges can be overcome with a few simple pillars to success:

  1. Firstly – Only ever offshore or outsource a process. Never offshore or outsource a problem. An outsourced problem is multiplied.
  2. Secondly – Your greatest cost in outsourcing is not the hourly rate, it is in constant turnover of team members. Make sure you partner with someone that has a good process and record for retention.
  3. Thirdly – Make sure you have a local (to the country you are hiring in) on the ground that can help you manage all the cultural norms and communication.
  4. Fourth – Hire in a country you might actually want to visit. As digital as the world has become, if you are going to build an offshore team, you should go and visit them sometimes. So choose a location that you would also take a holiday in.
  5. Finally – Do your homework on the countries you might offshore to in terms of access to language capability and the specific skills you need. If you are unsure how to go about this, speak to an expert that knows the landscape.

“In the world of offshoring and outsourcing knowing what to do isn’t as important as knowing what not to do.

“The single greatest competitive advantage a business will have in the next few years will be their ability to source talent. Direct, Outsourced, Offshore… the trick will likely be in nailing all of the above.”

Ben Avramides, CEO, Legacy Hospitality Group

Ben Avramides
Ben Avramides, CEO, Legacy Hospitality Group

“‘How do you eat an Elephant? In small bites.’ When addressing business, hospo or otherwise, something that will always be a constant you have to be ready for evolution. When you start to come up against it, share the load as a team and look for the changes that’ll lead closer to success/happiness. In practical terms, prioritise resolving the pain points but don’t get bogged down and lose sight of what you’re all working towards. Rather than stressing about uncertainty, what keeps Ben going is the understanding that time doesn’t stop moving, so when things are bad, understanding time will pass, everyone will have the opportunity to move forward again, and reset is something that excites him.”

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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