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As we wrap up January 2024, the year has commenced on a positive note, marked by a good influx of recruitment activities in the pipeline. It's worth highlighting the noteworthy return of clients to the office earlier than usual this January, contrary to the typically quiet atmosphere leading up to Australia Day.
Engaging with both candidates and clients in the market, it's apparent that certain trends and key discussions are shaping expectations for what 2024 holds.
The Work from Home (WFH) debate persist
The Financial Review reported last year that major corporations like Origin and Suncorp are tying bonuses to in-office attendance to encourage employees to return to work. While a 3-day in the office and 2-day WFH balance is preferred and deemed to be seen as a healthy balance, we are noting that some companies are pushing for a full return.
We have observed an 80% drop in candidates applying for roles that require full-time attendance.
Working Holiday Visa holders
In 2023, a notable influx of 21,525 Irish Working Holiday Visa (WHV) holders entered Australia, the highest in a decade. We see skilled candidates from Big 4 and commerce face employment challenges due to the 6-month WHV limitations. This creates an opportunity for employers open to sponsoring candidates. These individuals bring extensive experience and are willing to consider a more negotiable salary compared to local candidates
Salaries amid economic uncertainty
We have observed that salary expectations rose at the start of 2023 but stabilised by year-end. We anticipate seeing a moderate increase in salaries this year following a period an intense hiring in the recent years post-pandemic. Additionally, we expect to see modest growth in certain industries as clients are trying to cut down on spend and deteriorating profit. According to Deloitte’s Access Economics Forecast, the white-collar workforce is expected to grow by a slim 0.4% in 2024 which is below the national average rate.
From a candidate's perspective, there is anticipation that individuals will be less reluctant to change roles for a slight salary increment. Additionally, we expect to see modest growth in certain industries as clients are trying to cut down on spend and deteriorating profits.
Diversity and Inclusion
Salaries and working-from-home benefits are not the only drivers for job seekers. As companies continue working on their employee value proposition, diversity and inclusion are at the top of the list. According to a reporter written by Gerwyn Davies of the Australian HR Institute, there is a clear gap between employer awareness and action. Studies have also shown that diverse workplaces enjoy 12 % higher productivity levels compared to organisations where it is not a focus
The report highlights that diversity is an important factor when candidates evaluate job opportunities and that 37% of respondents from a Deloitte study said they would leave an organisation for a more inclusive one, increasing to 50% for millennials.
Employers will be focused on getting the balance right and working to achieve diversity and inclusion targets.
In summary, the prevailing sentiment for the year, despite its challenges, is one of optimism and positivity. We are excited about the prospect of continually collaborating with both employers and candidates and embrace the chance to delve deeper into these trends, gaining insights into the challenges and primary focus areas they entail.
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