Sources of Talent in Australia

In April Michael Specht and I embarked on a journey to try and understand the various sources of talent in Australia. A survey was conducted tracking the hiring practices of 409 organisations who made a total of 92,136 hires in the last 12 months. The final report compares the effectiveness of 17 (20 if we do not band some sources together) identifiable sources of talent.

The data revealed clear national trends. Job boards emerged as the most dominant source of talent, accounting for 29.64% of total hires (see graph). The data gets interesting when we hone in on factors like region, company size, type of organisation or industry sector. How companies in the ACT find talent differs from how the larger states like NSW or VIC conduct their sourcing. While not addressed in our study, it’s likely the health of local economies dictate how sourcing is conducted to a large degree.

Graph: Sources of Talent, 09clip_image002

There is also a clear demarcation between employers and professional recruiters on their degree of dependence on various sources of talent. Besides, things aren’t always what they seem. It’s interesting that gaps exist between what’s thought to be a successful source and the reality. That very little hiring is attributed to social media even though it’s rated highly as a channel for sourcing is testament to the mismatch between perception and reality (Gerry Crispin’s in his foreword points to a similar trend in the US).  Many of the findings in the survey contrast to established thinking within the HR and Recruitment industries. It’s also illuminating sources with high potential, such as alumni hiring, remain largely ignored (Also, refer Dr. Ian O. Williamson’s article on alumni strategy, page 19).

The study has limitations. In hindsight, we felt there are instances where we aren’t as clear as we ought to be with our questionnaire. Also, our classification of organisations does not entirely mimic Australian Bureau of Statistics’ method , and is fodder for naysayers. We would have liked the sample size to be larger and evenly spread across the 27 industries we monitored, even though at times it felt like we bit more than we can chew.  

Where to from here? I hope the report will stimulate further discussions in Australia and beyound. If anything, the study highlights the importance of monitoring and collecting recruitment data. Discussing the state of data collection, which remains poor as revealed by the study, will be a positive step forward. While national averages tell a story, sometimes they hardly matter at the individual level. Beyound the national numbers there are still many stories to decipher. Over the coming days, I will explore each source of talent in more details. 

Overall the whole project is a journey of discovery. To have access to hiring data and learn how corporate Australia recruits their talent is a privilege. I am extremely fortunate to be able to work with Michael Specht. I am also grateful to our sponsors and partners who made this project possible. Please visit their websites – JobAdder, JobGenie, NT3, Page Up People and PeoplePulse .

I look forward to your feedback. Download the report here (name and email required).  

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  1. […] it would be hard to justify ROI in light of the cheaper alternative offered by job boards). The Source of Talent Report ranked newspapers as the seventh most successful channel to recruit talent. One thing is for sure, […]

  2. […] the recent Sources of Talent  report 20 different channels to find talent was identified. It would be interesting to see […]

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