Lack of skilled candidates ‘a problem for Australian companies’

Australian businesses are having difficulties in finding the right candidates during the recruitment and selection process.

A new report by Hays Australia claimed there are simply not enough qualified applicants available when companies come to make hiring decisions. 

Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand, said recruitment activity is on the rise, but the “old threat of a skills shortage” accompanies this increase.

“It's quite a paradox; for some job functions there is still a surplus of candidates, yet in others – often those that require highly-skilled and experienced professionals – there is a shortage of suitable talent,” he stated.

“This can cause obvious and understandable frustration among sections of the talent pool, but those with the skills in demand are again starting to receive multiple offers and even counter offers.”

These sought-after candidates are becoming increasingly confident, Mr Deligiannis commented, which could be why 25 per cent of employers reported their turnover rate is higher in 2014 than last year.

According to the survey, 58 per cent of organisations worry that a skills shortage could hamper performance. Of these, 17 per cent said it would have significant ramifications on operational quality.

The largest skills gaps are in junior- to middle-management positions across a variety of sectors, including IT, engineering, sales and finance.

Hays' research supports recent figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers that found 63 per cent of global CEOs cited a lack of quality candidates as the biggest threat to business this year. This was 5 per cent more than in 2013.

Similar data compiled by the Australian Institute of Management in 2012 showed 77 per cent of enterprises in the country reported a skills gap in their firm.

Hays said when it came to attracting people with the right skills, there were disparities between what companies believed candidates want and what their business was perceived as able to deliver.