How to both attract & retain top talent with Learning & Development


As the war for talent increases and the need to both find ways to attract and retain top talent, having a strong Learning & Development offering and story is key.

As outlined in the 2021 Workplace Learning report from LinkedIn, upskilling and reskilling is increasingly important, with 59% of respondents identifying this as a top priority. And with the next generation of workers coming through, 76% of Gen Z believe that learning is the key to a successful career.

Due to the global pandemic candidate drivers have dramatically changed shifted. Candidates are seeking more purpose in their lives and want to be connected with a business that is aligned with their values, provides an inclusive environment, and more importantly, allows them to grow and develop their careers.

As recruitment consultant and National L&D lead at Six Degrees – ranked 6th in WRK+ Best Places to Work in Australia in 2021 – I recently participated in a live webinar organised by WRK+ where I shared insights on what’s happening across talent development and what we’re seeing at Six Degrees as best practice.

1. What are candidates asking their recruitment specialists when they are looking for a new job when it comes to talent development?

Six Degrees Executive regularly surveys candidates to identify what’s important to them. In recent results, Learning & Development scores equal to Hybrid/Flexible Working, and Career Progression tops the list outranking Salary/Compensation and Culture.

Candidates in today’s market are looking to grow, learn and progress in their careers, and companies that master this are seeking the results. Linked closely, Learning & Development and Career Progression are key to retaining top talent.

Businesses are finding ways to continue to engage with their talent and help them archive career goals/aspirations. Developing internal mentor programs to build leadership skills, upskilling middle management to ‘coach’ over ‘managing’, or creating cross-functional working groups to collaborate and resolve potential business changes are all ways to meet the needs of candidates in the market.

2. Are you noticing that candidates are asking more about how organisations demonstrate they have a culture of talent development?

Yes, candidates now don’t want you to just tell the…you need to SHOW them. With the abundance of job opportunities available in the market at the moment, candidates are now in the driver's seat and have control; therefore they are calling the shots.

If you are unable to articulate and demonstrate how your business is different, you’ll simply fall down the pecking order of roles they will explore. Developing detailed candidate packs that talk to your EVP and talk about how they can build their career within the organisation is something we priorities when we go to market with roles.

Demonstrating career pathways and development opportunities for candidates early on in the interview process can allow people to see how they can achieve their goals and have a long-term career in the business. Often, candidates that are on these sorts of programs are more inclined to decline our approaches for new roles as their needs are met, and they are happy and settled.​

3. Have you noticed changes in the way organisations create their job advertisements to promote their position on talent development?

Generally speaking, no. Companies are still sticking with the format of just listing the key role responsibilities and then hoping the ideal candidate applies.

In the 2021 year in review - Employment Report, applications per job ad declined all year, reaching the lowest point on record in November. Therefore with few active candidates in the market, however, you advertise to them and what you “sell” is important.

Where we have seen a change is company career pages, this has been a noticeable difference where companies talk to their EVP and highlight what life looks like in their business. They spend time talking about who they are, what they stand for, and the variety of initiatives across the business; L&D, D&I, Belonging, etc. If you’re unable to bring this to your ad, at least try your website and provide a link to the advertisement.​


Learning is becoming central to everyday work. Organisations are focusing on making themselves a long-term, attractive career hubs, where employees have many opportunities to move up and around into different teams and projects. That starts with embedding learning and skill building in people’s day-to-day experiences.

A well established Talent Development program in a workplace not only allows employees to perform better, it can also help employers to attract, manage, develop, and retain the most talented employees in their industry.

​Read more Employer Insights.

Click below to view the recording of the webinar: Talent Development At The Best.​