Currently hiring and wondering why your job is still unfilled?

By Brett Knowles

Published on 07-07-2021


​Recruitment agencies have never been busier. According to job management platform JobAdder, Australia has recorded an incredible 20.9% increase in new jobs created in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same time in 2020. The data shows strong demand, and the good news is more people are getting hired but some job vacancies remain open.

So why are some jobs unfilled?

While recruitment agencies are seeing the volume of jobs placed improve significantly across all sectors - particularly in technology, supply chain and healthcare - skills and talent shortages are now being experienced in many areas in Australia, making some positions more difficult to fill.

However, the answer to why some jobs remain open can be answered on many levels. The most common factor we are seeing is that many businesses are not meeting changes in candidate behaviour and expectations. Employers no longer have the power; unlike peak COVID where there was an abundance of candidates, this is no longer the case. According to a recent SEEK report, current job application levels per ad are at the lowest they have been since 2012.

To help employers maximise their chances of finding the best candidate to fill a role faster, we’ve put together a list of tips based on current market expectations.

Tips to help employers fill roles in the current market

1. Give yourself enough time to recruit

With job applications at the lowest since 2012, the candidate market has shifted, forcing employers and recruiters to adopt a more proactive approach to engage with talent. With less people applying to advertised job vacancies, agencies need to proactively target candidates from their network databases and online platforms like LinkedIn; and these lists can consist of hundreds of candidates.

Time is of the essence in the current market. If you consider the time it takes to contact potential candidates (who are already employed), have them respond, be able to screen people for their suitability for the job, and then schedule interviews with employers, the length of the process can greatly influence the outcome. Gone are the days of employers placing a job ad and having hundreds of suitable candidates come flooding in! JobAdder indicated in their latest recruitment industry report that the average time for an agency to fill a permanent role is 42 days. So, it pays to be prepared with the job description, skills requirements, and remuneration package ready to go.

2. Be ready to interview and recruit

With the volume of roles in the market, businesses need to find ways to keep the recruitment process moving efficiently. Making the time to review resumes, decide which candidates to meet, schedule interviews, and assess candidates promptly can be the difference between securing or losing out on great talent. Waiting to benchmark a suitable candidate against a shortlist of people can see employers miss the opportunity to secure the best talent. If you find someone that meets the role criteria – don't hesitate to hire them!

3. Meeting candidate expectations

Understanding that the top talent for a role will likely already be employed, employers need to give people a strong reason to change jobs. SEEK research shows 64% of candidates say job security has become more important to them now with the implications of COVID-19.

People want more than a strong remuneration package and ‘great culture’ to risk changing jobs, with research from AFR BOSS Best Places to Work indicating candidates need a workplace structure and environment where they can thrive. Candidates are motivated by having purpose, the autonomy and choice of flexibility, and being able to look after their mental, physical, and emotional health according to SEEK's 10 things to offer top talent.

One of the biggest challenges we are seeing businesses face following COVID-19 lockdowns and attempts to return to work, is the ability to manage changing expectations on workplace flexibility and new ways of remote working combined with a reluctance from many to head back to the office. According to SEEK Senior HR Partner Justin Boots, it is important to have a clear plan and offering around workplace flexibility. For example:

  • Being able to alter an employee’s start and finish times to accommodate commitments outside work

  • Offering remote working options if the nature of the job allows it

  • Reducing employee working hours to enable them to care for their family


What does this mean for recruiting?

For employers still trying to recruit people the same way as 12 months ago, roles will likely remain vacant, and the business pressure will increase. It is imperative to adapt to the changing market conditions and expectations of employees to attract and retain talent. To have the best chance of finding the right talent, make sure you invest enough time in the recruitment process, ensure you are prepared and ready to recruit, and that your business responds to what motivates people most in the current climate.

For help recruiting a role for your business, reach out to a recruitment specialist for advice.