Market Update & Talent Trends - March 2017

The Market

Despite global uncertainty post-Brexit and since the election of Donald Trump, the economic sentiment in Australia remains reasonably strong. The latest Deloitte CFO Sentiment Survey showed that for the first time since 2009, CFOs are feeling optimistic on all measured domestic contributors and 20% are more positive than they were three months ago.

There are other determinants which have promised renewed strength of the Australian economy and a greater momentum than was first expected as we entered 2017. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia the GDP forecast a rise by three percent by late 2017 and figures from the last quarter show a rise of 1.1%. This is a significant turnaround from the unexpected dip we experienced in the September quarter, which was the largest quarterly decline since Q4 2008. Due to this positive shift Australia has avoided a technical recession.

Australia has avoided a technical recession

In other positive news, Australia’s current account deficit dropped by 62% in seasonally adjusted terms to $3.853 billion, the smallest it's been since the September quarter in 2001. This is largely thanks to an improvement in goods and services trade performance.

January and February are typically busy recruitment months due to career development New Year resolutions and again we have noticed a spike in activity which has flowed through to the latest employment figures. Australia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.7 percent in January 2017 from 5.8 percent in December, demonstrating a positive sign for the talent market as well.

Industry Insights

After a tumultuous 2016 the dairy industry looks cautiously positive in 2017. Dairy Australia’s February ‘Dairy Situation and Outlook’ report states that sales volumes, across almost every dairy category, have grown. The global dairy supply and demand balance is better than it has been for some time, and prices for most products are back above five-year average levels.

Growth continues in the health food sector. There was a plethora of predications at the end of 2016 about trends in the health food sector. What has become clear, is Australia’s inclination toward healthy eating and shopping patterns has remained strong. The snacking category alone will grow in total by 3.1% in the 2012-2017 period. This is predominantly driven by healthy alternatives such as nuts and fruit and gluten free products. At Six Degrees we have seen this flow through in the demand for talent from independent health food suppliers who are stealing share from the big players.

In the world of retail, the word on everyone’s lips – Amazon. Retailers are filled with trepidation while consumers are filled with excited anticipation about the entry of Amazon into Australia. Either way it is causing massive ripples already with retailers pushing up prices as an attempt to minimise the impact and Amazon going on a hiring spree with still over 100 roles advertised on their website in supply chain, operations, marketing, sales and HR.

Skill-set Demands

There is a sustained and serious shortage of business development managers and junior sales managers in Australia. Our clients and specialist consultants have reported the shortage being the worst they have seen in over 10 years. We have found that blue chip organisations in mature industries, which have traditionally relied on their brand to gain top talent, are struggling to fill these roles in an acceptable time frame. Emerging and fast growth sectors are able to offer very competitive remuneration and benefits and are perceived as more modern and agile, a draw card for top talent.

Many of our clients are going through transformations to ensure their business is customer centric.

It is no surprise that the demand for digital talent remains. Many of our clients are going through transformations to ensure their business is customer centric. Due to this, there is a talent deficit of customer experience managers. Digital analysts and conversation optimisation specialists are also required as part of this process to maximise opportunity and covert every person that comes to their online channel and convert them. Finally, content strategists who are able to engage customers are in very high demand.

Suzie McInerney
Director - VIC
Six Degrees Executive