Meet the most popular recruitment methods in Australia: how does your strategy compare?

10 December 2015

It’s common for businesses to say that recruitment can be costly and time consuming, and that it’s difficult to find the ‘right person’. Most employers are looking for someone because of staff turnover rather than because of a new position, which means that you may prefer to put your time and money into keeping your business running rather than a lengthy recruitment process.

At the same time, at the higher end of the market the world’s top companies seem to be putting increasing resources into finding creative and left of field ways to attract the best staff.

So how do most Australian businesses choose to advertise their jobs, and how does your chosen method compare?

Newly-released results from the 2014–15 Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences from the Department of Employment show that more jobs are being filled through an employment agency than through social media, and half of all vacancies are advertised on the internet—which remains by far the most popular recruitment method in Australia.

Most businesses are advertising jobs on the internet or in the paper

According to the research, businesses are advertising 57 per cent of all vacancies through the internet or in a newspaper, to reach a broad audience of active job seekers. The internet takes up the largest chunk of job advertising, with roughly half of all vacancies being advertised online. Australian businesses are advertising 18 per cent of their vacancies in the newspaper, but this option is decreasing in popularity, and half of the time a business will also advertise their vacancy online.

The good news is that both these approaches can attract high numbers of applicants to each job, however it may also mean that you spend valuable time processing applications.

Methods for advertising on the internet range from using an online jobs board to your company’s own website, which is more popular with larger employers. Websites such as jobactive.gov.au can offer you a range of additional features such as allowing you to actively search for candidates who meet the criteria that you’re looking for.

One third of jobs aren’t formally advertised

Many Australian businesses still prefer to take recruitment matters into their own hands and rely on word of mouth and other informal methods to fill vacancies. Employers are placing a sign in a shop window or asking existing employees, friends and family if they know someone who might be suitable to fill a position—this is particularly in regional areas or for lower skilled jobs.

The research shows that 17 per cent of all jobs are advertised through word of mouth alone, and 13 per cent of vacancies are filled because someone has approached the business directly asking about work.

Infographic: recruitment methods used in Australia

In total, about a third of all vacancies in Australia aren’t advertised formally at all.

Employers are using agencies for more of their vacancies than social media

Social media can offer you a tailored recruitment strategy to target specific job seekers, usually at a low cost. Channels such as Facebook offer the ability to target your job ad based on a range of factors such as geographic location and interests. LinkedIn also allows you to target candidates with certain skills and experience. Social media advertising is growing in popularity among businesses, especially in capital cities like Sydney.

Despite the rapid rise of social media use in Australia however, it still only accounts for 5 per cent of advertised vacancies in capital cities.

The more personalised approach of working with an employment agency—including private recruitment agencies, labour hire firms or the Australian Government-funded employment services providers—is a more popular option with businesses, accounting for 15 per cent of vacancies.

The benefit of working with an agency is that they can provide specialist support to understand your business and find the right staff to fit your needs. Some agencies charge for their services, and others—such as the Government’s jobactive providers—offer their services at no cost to employers.

How programmes like jobactive can help

One of the benefits of sourcing staff through a Government recruitment service like jobactive is that your provider can work with you to get an understanding of your business and what you’re looking for, and take care of the candidate screening and shortlisting process on your behalf. They may also be able to recommend wage subsidies, training programmes or incentives that are available to help you source the right people.

For instance when Hervey Bay family-owned small business Souters Locksmiths needed a new bookkeeper, they went straight to jobactive provider Sarina Russo Job Access Pialba to find the right candidate.

Sarina Russo Job Access was able to not only find a highly suitable candidate, Sue Richards, but also recommended that Souters access the Restart program to employ workers aged 50 or older. Restart pays employers up to $10,000 (GST inclusive) over two years if they employ an eligible mature job seeker.

Owner Richard Souter says working with the agency has been a very positive, efficient and rewarding recruitment experience. The team at his local Sarina Russo agency have not only delivered a highly capable and valued bookkeeper, but they check in with him every month to ensure things are going smoothly.

‘Sue looks after our accounts, banking, phone and post. She works very well with the locksmiths and is extremely trustworthy, reliable and hard working. If something needs to get done, Sue will make sure it gets done. As a small business, these qualities are invaluable.’

‘As well as the range of skills and qualities that a mature-aged worker brings to the business, Sue has developed new skills to help Souters Locksmiths thrive. I’d definitely use a recruitment agency and the Restart programme again.’

Working out what’s right for your business

Employers in Australia are using a wide range of recruitment methods to fill vacancies. When it comes to recruiting, it’s really a personal business decision based on the type of job you need to fill, what industry you’re in and how much time and resources you have available to invest in finding the right person.

If you are interested in using jobactive to find staff for your business at no cost to you, get in touch with your local jobactive provider.

For more information about employer’s recruitment experiences around Australia, including in particular cities and regions, visit the Department of Employment website.