If you work in IT, technology, or you’re a banker, lawyer or an accountant, good news: you’re more likely than other Australians to get headhunted, a HR expert has said.
Gartner human resources advisory director Neal Woolrich told Yahoo Finance that employers are vulnerable to losing their top talent as recruiters observe a “mass exodus” of workers looking for new jobs.
“It's a global phenomenon. We're certainly seeing it in Australia,” said Woolrich. “IT, tech roles are the main pressure point at the moment, [as well as] sales and marketing roles, and probably across all levels of tenure and experience.”
One in four Australians are actively looking to ditch their current employer, a Gartner study from late April found.
‘Knowledge’ workers in specialised, high-demand sectors will benefit more than others in the ‘war for talent’. Data supplied by Gartner reveals that employers from the technology and IT sectors are expecting salary increases of nearly 10 per cent if they switch jobs.
Meanwhile, workers in professional services, which can include lawyers, engineers, consultants, advertisers or architects, are expecting wage rises of 6 per cent if they change employers.
Workers in the financial services, insurance and accounting industries aren’t far behind, at nearly 5 per cent.
Woolrich told Yahoo Finance he had heard of one instance where a rival organisation offered to double the pay of the employee’s current salary.
“All the organisations that focus only on IT and technology [are] really feeling the pinch because their people can be poached by any organisation,” he said.
The normalisation of remote work, a permanent legacy of COVID-19 lockdowns, has also meant some Aussie companies are now facing global competition for talent, Woolrich added.
All of this is putting pressure on Australian employers to hang onto good talent, he said.
“We could now be competing with organisations in the US or Europe that are paying their salaries, and our Australian employers are having to compete with them on wages as well.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the priorities of employees, who now prize mental health, wellbeing and work-life balance above their career growth.
A recent study by Atlassian found 69 per cent of workers would turn down a promotion to preserve their mental health.
Will this push up wages?
However, Woolrich doesn’t expect the talent squeeze will necessarily mean higher wages on a broader level.
“At the aggregate level, we're not really seeing the median wage spike that much,” he said.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) latest data reveals wage growth only grew by a measly 0.6 per cent in the March quarter of 2021, or an annual rate of 1.5 per cent.
And wage growth forecasts from the Morrison Government’s own 2021 Federal Budget are bleak. The 2021-22 year is expected to deliver 1.5 per cent wage growth. 24 months later, the figure has only risen to 2.5 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Treasury expects the economy to come roaring back to life off the back of consumer spending, but think tank Per Capita has argued that this won’t happen without meaningful wage growth for all, especially lower- and middle-income Australians.
The Federal Government and the RBA has turned its attention to increasing employment, which was steadily increasing every month before the recent round of state lockdowns triggered by the Delta variant of COVID-19.
Unemployment data released later this month will reveal the impact the lockdowns have had on the jobs market.
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