Challenges and Trends

TECHNOLOGY – Simon Greening, APAC regional director, Bullhorn looks at technology trends in Australia.

According to Bullhorn’s 2018 Australian Recruitment Trends Report, optimism runs high in the Australian recruitment industry. Eighty-one per cent of respondents anticipate an increase in 2018 revenue compared to 2017, and 31 per cent predict an increase of more than 25 per cent. Although this revenue forecast is slightly behind last year’s projections, the report indicates other positive signals, such as an increase in technology budgets.

Bullhorn surveyed more than 1,400 recruitment professionals worldwide, including the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, with 200 of them specifically operating in Australia. After analysing the data, technology investment appears to be a bigger priority for recruiters this year than market expansion or acquisitions.

Australia, with its rapidly maturing recruitment market, is a country known for leading technology trends in the APAC region. Agencies are boosting their technology investments this year considerably; 59 per cent predict increased tech spending, compared to 43 per cent last year. More than half of agencies (54 per cent) are also raising their operating budgets.

There is no doubt that this increase in technology spend correlates with the confident financial outlook. However, the year ahead presents several important challenges and opportunities. Let’s take a closer look at the technology trends influencing the Australian recruitment industry in 2018.

Automation: a missed opportunity?

Using automation to accelerate recruitment and placement processes remains somewhat an area of untapped interest for Australian recruiters. Almost half (47 per cent) of agencies rank it in their top three challenges for 2018 and yet, only 17 per cent rank automation as a top business priority. That discrepancy signals there’s plenty of room for increased adoption and utilisation.

For 45 per cent of recruiters, automation’s greatest value lies in its ability to increase efficiency and customer engagement. But many agencies admit to a complete lack of automation when it comes to managing common client and candidate-facing tasks. About 40 per cent of agencies don’t automate during the prospecting or client engagement stages either. And more than 35 per cent don’t automate candidate sourcing, screening, or the selection process at all.

Automation has the potential to make a positive impact on the recruitment industry. Agencies need to consider its benefits and harness its abilities to help them work faster and better.

Candidates: where to find them

Based on our survey findings, the top three sources for finding candidates amongst Australian recruiters are:

1 Referrals from successful placements;
2 Job boards;
3 Existing candidates from the company ATS and/or CRM.

However, existing candidates from the recruiter’s ATS and/or CRM are more consistently ranked in the top three than referrals and job boards. This indicates that tapping into existing databases is still the most reliable source of qualified talent.

Communication channels: how to reach candidates

Recruiters can choose from many channels of communication – but what are the best channels to use when trying to reach candidates? According to 65 per cent of respondents, SMS messaging (or texting) is on the rise, while email usage has neither increased or dropped.

Twitter is not particularly popular; 55 per cent don’t use it at all for recruitment purposes, which suggests room for improved use of relevant social media platforms. Unsurprisingly, 21 per cent say phone calls are becoming less and less of a recruitment tool. Millennial and Generation Z candidates prefer digital forms of communication instead.

Digital recruitment platforms – friend or foe?

The rise of digital recruitment platforms – such as Upwork, Shiftgig, Catalant, and others —have raised concerns about a new and more agile source of direct competition, especially for temporary recruitment and contractors.

This is an area that Australian recruiters will want to watch carefully, given that the country’s contingent workforce continues to experience significant growth. However, our report shows that many recruitment agencies are surprisingly receptive to working in partnership with such platforms. In fact, 28 per cent say digital platforms could help their businesses, while only seven per cent say they will hurt their businesses. The jury’s still out, though, as 65 per cent are unsure of its potential impact.

The increased interest and investment in technology within the Australian recruitment market presents a wide range of lucrative opportunities for agencies to do better business in 2018. To boost adoption, it’s crucial for all industry stakeholders to help raise awareness of the benefits these technologies offer. Ultimately, those agencies that seize on these opportunities will set a new standard for recruitment and staffing practices in the ever-changing world of today.