Australian Government,  Communications professional

What’s changed in the Canberra communications job market?

Over the 12 months, the jobs market in Canberra has changed for communications professionals. Once there were many people and not many roles. Now, the tide has turned, and there are not enough candidates to fill the positions available. As a result, many employers are struggling to fill roles in their teams across both the APS and the private sector.

It is an endless conversation across my communications network “Does anyone know of a great APS6 looking for a move?” “I need an EL1 for a strat. comms role. Any ideas?” “I have a 12-month contract in my team, does anyone know anyone?” Everyone is looking for someone.

I have had conversations with several local recruitment firms, and they say the same thing, it’s a candidate’s market. There are not enough candidates to fill the roles they have. On APS jobs last week, there were over 30 permanent communications roles in the ACT – at all levels. There are over 2000 jobs listed if you search for communications in Canberra on LinkedIn.

I think this is a really interesting topic for everyone working in communications in Canberra. Over the next few weeks, I will share some insights for employers and candidates about the current communications jobs market with information direct from recruitment agents and employers. I would love to hear what you think and any specific questions you have!

What has changed?

Everyone has a view on why the market is changing. Maybe it’s not one factor but many that are all occurring simultaneously.

The current climate in government is at a frantic pace, which is spilling over into those private sector businesses that work with government clients. As a result, there is a sense that everyone is sprinting towards the next priority, and every team is under-resourced. If the last 18 months has taught us anything, it’s that communications is a vital resource in any organisation. We are in more demand than ever before.

Several big initiatives have started that were part of the ‘kick-starting the economy budget’ last year or are part of broad government reform initiatives in areas like aged care and defence. All of which need to be delivered now. This is putting a lot of pressure on communication teams to share details of new programs or policies with the community and stakeholders while also managing ‘business as usual’ work.

And let’s not forget it’s an election year. So as we ramp up to the unknown date, there is always a higher need for more people to support the Governments’ agenda.

I have also heard that many people are unwilling to move from their current organisation. People are hanging on to the jobs they have. Maybe in an uncertain world, at least knowing what you are doing every day and who you are working with helps create a sense of safety. Holding on to a secure job in an uncertain economy, in a country that keeps locking down, might seems like a good idea right now.  

The lack of available skilled, experience and knowledgeable communications professionals is impacting both the ability for APS teams to fill roles, the private sector who services government and anyone else in Canberra who is looking for communications staff.

Looking for a new gig…

If you are in the market for a new role, now is the time to look around. You don’t have to take the first role you see, there are so many out there and new ones coming onto the market you can hold out for the one that is right for you.

You also don’t need to take the first offer you get. Instead, ask for different conditions, work environment (like the flexibility of working from home) or more money (either a higher increment or more per hour). You never know what might be on offer.

Want to know what employers are looking for and how you can position yourself in the current market – keep an eye out, there is an article coming your way!

Looking for staff

For employers, it means you will have vacant roles (and therefore more pressure on the other people in the team). You will have roles that you advertise and cannot find the right candidate for. If you don’t have the capacity to absorb that work, you may need to think about take less qualified/experienced candidates, paying more for contractors or hiring consultants to do bits of the work.

Need some insights into the current market and what you need to do to secure a great candidate. Keep an eye out next week for my interview with Krista Griffiths from Randstad.

Stay tuned!

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