Australian HR market insights

July to December 2023

Frazer Jones is pleased to present our insights into the Australian HR market for the second half of 2023.

After an unprecedented 2021-2022 where we saw record high volumes of HR opportunities across all areas with limited supply, the market has understandably recalibrated with a decline in job vacancies. There are certain pockets of skills that remain in short supply such as Employee Relations, Industrial Relations, HRIS, and Reward.

The wider Australian job market, whilst experiencing an inevitable slowdown, has remained fairly robust in relative terms with unemployment remaining largely unchanged at 3.7%.

For most of 2023, internal talent acquisition teams have had more capacity to hire directly which has delivered all-important cost savings, but sometimes at the expense of the candidate experience. We are still getting feedback that candidates across all levels of the HR market apply for a role and never hear back.

Salary expectations

To gain accurate and insightful candidate sentiment, we have robust conversations with our candidates at every level, around salary expectations, and how flexible they will be to secure their ideal next role.

Over the last 6 months, 25% of candidates we have spoken to, advised they would be open to taking a drop in salary for the right role. The majority of candidates, 52%, would be willing to consider a move for the same salary but are ideally looking for an increase. The remaining 23% would only consider an increase when looking for a new role and the average increase is between 8%- 9%.

With cost-of-living pressures, most entry and mid-level candidates are looking for an uplift but can be flexible to get into the right environment with development opportunities.

The senior market by nature is more competitive and with softer conditions, we have seen an increase in Senior HR Talent taking significant decreases to get back into the market. We also see some HR talent looking for a step change and moving away from a traditional corporate role, opting for start-ups or companies more aligned in values and purpose.

NOTE: The data we use is the current or most recent salary versus the minimum salary expectations in their next role. We show both the average, minimum, and maximum for each broad level.

Rate of offers declined

The average offer acceptance rate in 2023 is 11%, which is a slight increase from 2022 which was at 10%. The top reasons we are seeing of why candidates decline a job offer are:  

  • Lack of flexibility and more days required in the office  
  • Counter offers (not only matching salary but offering an expanded role)

Roles in demand

Demand for HR Generalists and HR Business Partners, especially at the mid-level has remained steady, with 56% of roles over the past 6 months being in the HR Generalist category. 

The Talent Acquisition/Recruitment market was very busy in 2021/2022 and has been more subdued in 2023 with considerable redundancies in this area. With some clients continuing to grow in 2023, for example in healthcare, medical devices, and trading, 15% of our roles in the last 6 months have been in this space.

With significant changes to employment legislation this year and continuing ER issues following the pandemic, ER/IR and Policy specialists continue to be busy and in high demand.

Top retention strategies

As employees decide what’s right for them, employers must consider what actually makes their company worth working for. Here are some of the retention strategies and benefits we are currently seeing in the market:

Extra personal leave – mental health days, extra compassion leave days (for pets, family, etc)

Additional annual leave

Hybrid working

Loans and salary sacrifice

Cash contribution towards the purchase of an electric car

Customised benefits program – employees can select from a bucket of benefits that are most meaningful to them

End-of-trip facilities and on-site gyms or subsidised gym memberships

Note of interest – Working holiday visas

We have seen the highest number of candidates arriving on working holiday visas for the first time since before the pandemic. With the 6 months per employer limitation and with limited local experience, we are seeing clients overlook the value and commitment that they could bring to a project or parental leave assignment. We are hearing from many highly experienced, advisors/generalists who are happy to do a more junior role for 6 months, to gain local experience and knowledge, whilst the employer gets a highly experienced professional for a short period in time.

If you are interested in some great talent, who are available now, please get in contact for more information.

For more details on the Australian HR market or to discuss your company’s hiring program, please contact Frazer Jones Australia for a confidential discussion.

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