News 24/09/2018 by "Nick Macleay"

Australia’s Telecommunications Labour Shortage – How to Regain Control and Get the Candidates You Need

Australia's telecommunications labour shortage

Currently, in Australia, we are experiencing a shortage of Telecommunications professionals for labour hire. As often happens in these cases, businesses go into panic mode and tend to take a reactive approach, rather than continuing to focus on long-term strategy and processes for hiring.

According to the Department of Jobs and Small Businesses, employers are generally attracting low numbers of suitable applicants, which is resulting in unfilled vacancies of around 50 per cent in 2017; a record low.

It seems this current market situation started with the NBN project and more recently has come from the mobile operators looking to build and upgrade their networks and spending billions of dollars acquiring new sites and installing Telecommunication infrastructure. The demand keeps growing but the candidate pool is not.

So far, we are seeing these shortages in skilled Telecommunications Project Managers and Project Directors, as well as Civil and Project Engineers, Telco Field Engineers and Riggers, and now Town Planners and SAED specialists (Site Acquisition, Environmental and Design professionals), who are currently in serious demand.

With no end to this labour shortage in sight, it is important for companies to start looking at their long-term resourcing plans and put an end to the reactive approach.

Consequences of a reactive process

With high demand comes demanding candidates. In some cases, rates for these professionals has increased 50 per cent above what it was just two years ago. Of course, it is through no fault of their own; when you’re in high demand, someone will be willing to pay you high rates. It happens in every candidate short market, and we can’t blame these candidates for enjoying the benefits of being highly sort after. Instead, it is the responsibility of businesses to try to retain a little control, rather than giving it all to the candidate.

As we’ve also seen with the shortage in IT Project Services, rushing the hiring process, and paying the exorbitant rates right off the bat is going to result in disloyal hires who will simply jump at the next, higher paying, opportunity.

Regaining control in a candidate short market

Regaining control is all about looking long-term so that you can have a new confidence in your process. This is going to make you less likely to compromise or throw your budget away.

Look at your value proposition beyond remuneration

This is the time to take a step back and think about what your company offers candidates, aside from remuneration. Play to your strengths and really highlight (and follow through on) the other benefits to candidates joining your organisation. Whether it’s extra leave, working from home, or professional development allowances; focus on positioning these perks more heavily. If you do not have any company perks to make you competitive, it may be worth looking into establishing some.

Consider upskilling

If the candidate market isn’t growing at the rate you need it to, and your needs aren’t going away any time soon, perhaps it’s time to look at education initiatives internally to help bring more skilled professionals into the market. Development opportunities are a great employment perk and garner loyalty from those in the program.

Work with those in the know

We all need help from time to time, and having a relationship with a recruiter specialising in this area is beneficial to help you not only hire the best people but also to learn about what’s happening in the market and how you can survive it. That’s where we come in. With over 10 years specialising in Telecommunications recruitment, we can help you to remain in control in a candidate short market.

Give us a call today to discuss the current telecommunications recruitment landscape and who we have available for your next project.