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Market Update and Talent Trends

by Paul Hallam

Market Update

The Market

Australia’s economic growth has remained relatively stable and slightly above trend. The increase in the price of commodities has led to some positive news on the national growth front and the GDP from manufacturing in Australia has increased providing some relief in the sector.

The unemployment rate has unexpectedly dipped slightly to 5.6% from 5.7% in August, however, there are concerns with the rising underemployment rate which is at an all-time high of 8.7 per cent. Economists are particularly worried as this is a factor of the stagnating growth of household income, which is holding inflation at worryingly low levels. The pool of underemployed talent is often willing to accept lower wages to gain more work which has influenced wage growth which is at the lowest level on record, at just 2.1 per cent.

Despite this, at Six Degrees, we have noticed a positive lift for the final quarter of the year, largely due to an influx of specialist roles within industrial B2B industries and sales and engineering roles within the FMCG/consumer space.

Skill-set Demands

There is a huge demand, particularly in the NSW market, for business development managers (BDM) across a number of sectors, including specification BDM’s in construction and specialist BDMs in freight forwarding. Due to the high demand, time to fill and quality of hire are becoming a real challenge with some companies reporting open vacancies for 12 months before they find the right talent.

Emerging industries such as SaaS, technology related start-ups and fin-tech are disrupting the market leading to a shrinking of traditional talent pools. These types of companies are more attractive to highly skilled talent and often offer better remuneration.

Due to increased competition, businesses are engaging with top talent outside their sector in order to compete.

This requires a deeper understanding of transferable skill-sets and behaviours and how these align with a company's value proposition.

In the FMCG space there is high demand for production managers with continuous improvement experience who are able to drive efficiency using Lean Six Sigma methodologies. We have noticed a shift in the required profile of maintenance managers. In the past, maintenance roles were generally reactionary in nature and talent with a trade backgrounds were able to meet the role requirements. However, as the market has become more competitive, technical and mechanical engineering backgrounds are highly sought after. Maintenance managers are now expected to design and implement a reliability strategy which incorporates preventative maintenance.

FMCG businesses are also looking for high calibre account managers who have direct experience in managing the major national grocery accounts such as Coles and Woolworths. Top talent that has had this exposure are paid a premium (a competitive retention strategy) or are burnt out due to the high demands and challenges in working in the current retail market. We have noticed an increase in the number of account managers looking for experience in other industries.

Regardless of function our clients are all seeking talent that is commercially savvy, driven, has strong communication skills and is strategically minded.

For further insights contact Paul on (03) 8613 3555

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Paul Hallam
Managing Director
Six Degrees Executive