Digital Trends & Beyond | Hunt & Co.

Key Takeaways from Hunt & Co.’s Digital Trends & Beyond Event: Talent and acquisition strategies

The last 24 months have been a trying but exciting time for companies. The word we keep hearing is ‘resilience’ and this rings true when it comes to building and retaining talented teams as well. The industry has seen explosive growth, the job market is HOT and for businesses like yours, it is the perfect time to get on top of your talent acquisition and retention strategy to prepare for a thriving new financial year.

In May, the Hunt & Co. team hosted a get-together with a group of industry friends and thought leaders to celebrate the launch of our Digital Salary Guide! The Digital Salary Guide is now in its fifth year of publication and keeps on growing in its industry impact. Within the first month of its publication, we have had over 1,000 downloads and are proud to say that this guide is becoming a trusted resource used for salary review conversations around Australia.

The Digital Salary Guide discussed a lot of the macro factors creating this perfect talent storm – and that is certainly something we hope you find really helpful in informing your job search or hiring plans. But what’s probably more interesting is how some companies are actually dealing with this market, and what creative solutions they are developing to build their talent pipeline and hire the talent they need to build the business they want.

This is why we decided to take the talent discussion out of the pages of the Digital Salary Guide and into real life with an incredible industry panel including Angela Ryan (CIO of Auto & General), Halley Burd (People & Culture Manager of Swyftx) and Daniel Gavel (Director of Black Sheep Capital) with a few drinks and canapes on James Street, Brisbane.

We discussed:

  • Current market conditions and salaries
  • Key digital and technology trends we are expecting to see
  • Major pain points for hiring managers
  • Talent and acquisition strategies to help counteract the tech talent shortage and the Great Resignation movement
  • And much more…

Here’s some of our key takeaways:

Takeaway 1 | Candidates are spoilt for choice. Impactful perks are now a non-negotiable.

You’re not just competing with local companies for talent; remote work means employees can explore job opportunities beyond Brisbane and even beyond Australia – and for a lot of people having tasted what a remote work lifestyle feels like, this is very attractive.

So, what’s the solution? Employees will come and go. That’s a fact. But what you can control is your brand values and team culture that must come through loud and clear to your team while perks must go past the ping-pong table (which we love, by the way) to offer benefits that add value. We’re talking about generous Learning and Development Budgets, career advancement opportunities, incredible leave options (whether that be parental, pawternity or life), donation-matching, in-house training academies and ESOPs to name a few. Making space for perks that build camaraderie and connection in your team (such as table tennis or tickets to the World Cup perhaps?) as well as value-added perks (such as training programs and hybrid work arrangements) are a step in the right direction.

Did you know we have created a whitepaper with 30+ workplace perks for employees? Click here to download.

Takeaway 2 | Employer branding should be a #1 priority.

We see this often; companies engage in employer brand marketing activities only when they are actively hiring. Sure this can work in the short term. But to maintain a steady pipeline and grow your talent pool, companies need to switch to an ‘always-on’ mode so future employees can build interest in joining your company.

Note from a recruiter… educating candidates on the brand is an extra hurdle that you do not want in a candidate market that moves at lightning speed. Trust us, A.B.E.B. – Always Be Employer Branding.

Takeaway 3 | Unprecedented salaries. It’s a nice time to work in tech.

If our panellists could turn back time (“Alexa, play Turn Back Time by Cher”), almost everyone agrees that studying IT/Data Science would be the way to go. Between The Great Resignation and this candidate short market we are experiencing, Developers, Cloud Architects, Data Engineers etc. can pretty much name their price!

So when will the market stabilise? That’s the golden question right now.

Takeaway 4 | In a talent tight market, diversity is actually the answer (not something to put on the back burner).

Much like employer branding, keeping diversity front of mind is a must-do. This was a topic our panel felt very passionate about. The message: Diversity must be a priority, it must be deliberate, and now is a great time to double down on those activities.

If a certain demographic is dominant in your company, ask why. It’s up to the industry to ask the question. And if you don’t think about it early, it will harm you down the line.

At a micro level, diversity can start with job descriptions and making sure there are not too many barriers for candidates and encouraging those with diverse backgrounds and less experience to apply as well. At a more macro level, the most successful companies are expanding their short, medium and long term pipelines for diversity.

Prioritising diversity in your business does not just allow for diversity of thought (which we know builds better products and companies) but it also unlocks untapped talent pools so really… it just makes commercial sense.

Some of the brilliant programs we heard from our panel to build a diverse pipeline include refugee programs, internal academies and partnering with programs such as SheCodes.

Takeaways 5 | The market is moving quickly. Can you keep up?

Keeping up with salaries and the fast-moving candidate market is about being adaptable. There is a need to move quicker and quicker to secure great candidates and it is up to companies to continually reflect on and improve their recruitment process to streamline for efficiency.

Takeaway 6 | Company culture. It’s a vibe, literally!

Each conversation during our panel discussion kept coming back to company culture! Our wonderful panellists have many and varied opinions about company culture – what it looks like, how it feels. But generally, we could all agree that a great workplace culture is crucial for both talent retention and talent acquisition.

Where does this start? It starts from the top and it starts from Day One (same as building any product).

So what are candidates are looking for?

  • Is the vibe right? A good culture fit can be best described as a feeling. A quick way to evaluate this is by simply asking: Am I leaving work on a Friday energised? Is my team leaving work on a Friday energised?
  • Do team members feel supported with the right tools to do their best work?
  • Are the company values clearly articulated and communicated across the business?
  • Is there transparency within the organisation?
  • As an employer, are you energised and bringing good energy every day? (remember: you get what you give)
  • Do team members have the opportunity to enjoy their wins and celebrate together?

As Daniel Gavel says, it’s hard to undo a bad culture once it’s ingrained.

Looking for a list of simple things you can do to add to your work culture? Here’s a few we jotted down:

  • Don’t ask employees to do anything you wouldn’t do.
  • Don’t take negative energy to work.
  • Involve others in decision making.
  • Take the time to listen to your team.

If you’re interested in chatting further about your recruitment needs or career direction please feel free to reach out to the Hunt & Co. team or send us a message!

Industry & Career Insights