Tackling the skills squeeze: leaders must prioritise talent strategy

Over two years of global disruption has shaken workplaces in ways that once seemed unthinkable. Looking back, it seems absurd that companies took so long to realise the benefits of flexible work arrangements, proving that many jobs really can be done anytime, from anywhere.

The upshot of 24 months of rolling lockdowns is that many businesses have permanently banked the efficiencies of remote work and the global normalisation of Zoom meetings. We’ve found a better way to work, and we’re not going back. Leaders now have the data – and first-hand experience – confirming that flexible workplace cultures boast happier and more productive employees.

Tellingly, four-day-week trials are on the rise in Australia as leaders look for new ways to boost productivity and competitive advantage in attracting necessary skills. The world’s new location-agnostic approach to getting work done is opening up doors to recruit great employees regardless of where they live – and not a moment too soon.

Global talent deficit

Heading into 2022, Australian business leaders are very confident: the economy is buoyant, lockdowns are behind us and we’re ready to move forward. However, employers are now facing some of the most challenging hiring conditions in decades.

The compounding challenges of the pandemic have not only accelerated a global reimagining of how and where work happens, but also pushed the fast forward button on demand for critical skills.

In the first quarter of 2022, Australia’s jobless rate hit a 13-year low. Skills shortages across most sectors are at historic highs and it’s predicted that we’ll need an additional 260,000 tech workers by 2025.  Even with the gradual return of international migration, experts expect the shortfall of skilled talent entering the local market over the past 24 months will take at least the same amount of time to recover, if not more.

These tightening market conditions mean companies are becoming ever more agile and adaptable. Leaders are flattening team structures, re-thinking traditional role descriptions and taking a more fluid approach to leveraging skills. The scarcity of local candidates across nearly every discipline, coupled with rising salary expectations is, unsurprisingly, fuelling growth in offshore recruitment.

Workforce agility builds organisational resilience

For ConnectOS, this surging demand from existing and new clients to expand their agile workforce doesn’t just reflect the flexibility and cost savings of customised offshore solutions. The Philippines has undergone a substantial skills uplift over the past decade, allowing us to help Australian businesses tap into hard-to-find or niche skills they can’t source locally.

Many companies are also integrating offshore resourcing into their talent strategies to build resilience during uncertainty, spreading their workforce risk. The demand for IT support, finance, administration and software development skills showing no sign of slowing.

If you’d like to talk further about how ConnectOS can help you see your growth strategy differently in 2022, please get in touch.