Australian Government,  Communications professional

Resetting your expectations when recruiting

Last week, I wrote about the changing jobs market in Canberra for communications professionals. I wanted to find out more about what was going on and how employers may need to reset their expectations when recruiting.

I spoke to Krista Griffiths, principal consultant in sales, marketing, digital & communication at Randstad Canberra to get her perspective and advice for those of you who are recruiting. Krista and I go way back, and she was a trusted adviser when I worked in government, if anyone knows the local market – it’s her!

What is happening in the jobs market in Canberra at the moment for communications professionals?

The job market and demand in Canberra for Communications Practitioners is the busiest it has been in years! With the Average Staffing Levels (ASL) opening up, Departments are now able to offer an array of opportunities for both contractors as well as ongoing employment which is something we haven’t seen in a very long time

What do you think is driving this change? (Why are there more jobs? Where are all the good candidates?)

With the many reforms happening across Government and the key budget initiatives to kick start the economy there is a lot of work to be done, and not enough staff to deliver the outcomes. With all Departments recruiting at the same time, candidates are spoilt for choice and able to apply for permanent roles, which they haven’t been able to do for a long time. This has diminished the pool of strong talent in the market.

What are employers generally looking for generalists or specialists, permanent or contractors?

At the moment, employers are being flexible as they understand there are challenges in sourcing strong talent. If we looked back a year ago, the only opportunities were available were hourly rate or labour hire assignments. It’s now opened up and employers are offering part time roles, flexible work, contracting and also permanency with a strong appetite for generalists rather than specialists. 

What should you expect if you are about to recruit?

It’s a candidate’s market at the moment, and with the increase in demand for skilled communications professionals, employers should expect to pay candidates more than they have in the past. We are seeing increasingly high hourly rates being offered to skilled candidates coming in on contracts – well and truly above the APS Enterprise Agreements. 

In a highly competitive market, do employers need to change their expectations about what they need and who can join their team?

Yes! They can expect to pay more for skilled candidates, particularly those at the APS6 level where there seems to be the biggest shortage of candidates. They also need to be open to bringing in entry-level candidates, offering them support and training as this will give them value for money, loyalty and commitment from employees in this candidate short market.

What can employers do to make their organisation more attractive to candidates?

In order to secure the best talent in the current climate, employers need to offer flexible work arrangements and attractive hourly rates for contractors. Post pandemic, candidates appreciate work from home options and flexible part time hours. If clients are willing to consider candidates that are remote or outside of Canberra, this will increase options and set them apart from their competitors.

Can you give one piece of advice to teams who are looking to recruit a great communications professional?

Be open minded when reviewing CV’s, with regard to candidates who have other work experience outside communications! I find employers can be quite judgemental and should look at the broad experience as a positive rather than a negative. Particularly, consider those candidates who may not have worked for the APS previously. Give them a go! Invest the time to onboard and train people, it will be worth it in the long run.   

I would love to hear from you! What is your experience recruiting in Canberra at the moment? Any advice for candidates?

Get in touch

Krista Griffiths

Krista has over 10 years of experience working as an award-winning recruitment professional in Canberra. Her experience to date includes both temporary and non-ongoing recruitment within the Marketing, Communications, Digital, Public Affairs and Creative space. A long serving and top performing consultant Krista works across all levels including graduates through to Director level in both non-ongoing and temporary appointments for her Federal Government clients.

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