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Australia – Jobseekers increasingly turning to recruitment agencies

27 September 2013

In order to get an edge over their competitors, jobseekers are increasingly turning to recruitment agencies to do that hard work for them, according to the Northern Territory News. There are more than 7,000 recruitment firms in Australia, working to source the best workers for jobs.

In the past five years, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) figures have shown that the number of unemployed people who have registered with a recruitment firm has grown by +80%. There were 142,000 jobseekers using a recruiter in 2012, compared with 78,800 in 2008 when records began.

Looking for work with a recruitment firm is still only used by 24% of unemployed jobseekers, the least popular job hunting method for this demographic. As a result, those who do use recruitment firms are gaining an edge and learning about many job opportunities before their competitors. An estimated 90% of companies report that they will use a recruitment firm to help them source staff.

Adam Shapley, regional director for recruitment firm Hays, said that the main advantage recruiters offer is that the consultant is a specialist in a particular area; whether it be a region, industry, or occupation. Mr Shapley said that different firms specialise in different areas or may have a pool of staff with knowledge across several areas.

He said: “A good recruitment consultant should be, first and foremost, a specialist or expert in a particular area. The benefit is they should be able to access and leverage the relationships and knowledge [of] that consultant to find the hidden job market.”  

Across Australia, sales and marketing has the greatest number of specialist recruitment companies, according to the Northern Territory News, followed by administration and office support, accounting, IT&T, and engineering. However, boutique recruiters can be found in any sector, from property and retail, to sport and beauty.

Mr Shapley said that recruiters have the skills and time to sort through jobs applications and narrow the field down for employers; from an in-tray of hundreds of applications to a select shortlist.

He added: “If an organisation advertises… you might be the one person who has what they need for that role, but if people have to find that proverbial needle in the haystack through 300 resumes, they still might not find you.”   

“[That’s] what a recruitment consultant does… they all work very hard to understand their target clients and customers,” Mr Shapley said.

Daryl Stillwell, managing director of Stillwell Management Consultants, said that the most common reason clients engage its services is employers recognise the implications of making bad recruitment decisions. 

He said: “They see our involvement as one of the best investment decisions they could ever make. This is not just to save their time but to add really objective expertise to the recruitment process, including their requirement to have psychological appraisal and highly detailed structured reference checking included as part of the recruitment methodology.” 

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