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Unemployment in the Toowoomba region

Talent Spring founder and director of our sister company Focus HR Naomi Wilson was interviewed recently for a WIN News story regarding the rate of youth unemployment in the Toowoomba region.

The number of applications we have been receiving for advertised roles in recent months varies greatly based on type of role and location – areas like Townsville and Brisbane attract larger numbers. In Toowoomba where we’ve traditionally enjoyed lower unemployment rates the number of applications has increased but remains lower than other places; and rural communities continue to struggle for numbers. We are finding however that COVID-19 has opened the door to ways to engage the right skill sets remotely, removing the ‘location’ barrier in places that previously struggled to attract skilled people to relocate.

Interestingly it is the entry level and then the very senior roles that attract the most applications. Entry level because the candidate pool is far greater and the senior roles because they become available less often and therefore more in demand

Pre and during the peak of COVID-19 in Australia we could see over 200 applications for administrative roles – this year so far these are attracting around 100

We are seeing a marginal increase in people applying for jobs they’re over/under qualified for out of desperation? But what we are seeing happen as technology helps job seekers with their search, is that people are automatically applying for roles without giving due consideration to their suitability. I would estimate that only 25% of applications received are noticeably tailored by the candidate to the role that they are applying for and show obvious signs that they have taken the time to explore the role, the company and why they would fit the role.

We are also seeing and hearing anecdotal evidence from employers that they are receiving good volume of applications but then a serious lack in response – candidates not returning calls, not presenting for interviews or rejecting job offers. This started when the higher job seeker rates were introduced so we expect to see a swing back to candidates being more dedicated to their job search if the supplement ceases at end March 2021.

The automatic applications and lack of responsiveness from candidates is frustrating for business owners but also presents an opportunity in the way that we advertise. At TalentSpring, our recruitment strategy involves triggers that give us real insight into a candidate’s attention to detail and fit for a role so that we are spending time with motivated candidates.

In terms of the ratio of applications to jobs available, ABS statistics show that unemployment rates dropped to 6.6% in December 2020 and underemployment dropped to 8.5%

We believe these are likely to increase marginally again when JobKeeper 2.0 ceases at end March – employers who are still reliant on JobKeeper to retain their people may be faced with the difficult decision to free more of their people up to the labour force. There are businesses that are being dubbed ‘zombie companies’ as they exist as long as JobKeeper sustains them, but aren’t truly operational so likely to close once JobKeeper ceases and we believe that if and when these close, the owners and employees will be joining the job seeker force.

Talent Spring and our sister company Focus HR are always happy to discuss recruitment issues and to assist with your business strategies in terms of your workforce.

Please contact us to make an appointment for a chat.

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