Off the back of the latest SEEK media release, our newest Talent Solutions Consultant, Paij Whinery has taken a deeper dive into what it means for employers and the world of recruitment advertising.

We have been fortunate here in Aotearoa to already be back on the road to recovery and largely over the hump of widespread business disruption, but we aren’t there yet. Many industries are crying out for workers.

Until recently, dare I utter the phrase “pre-Covid” and cue the collective shudder, the very notion of Employer Brand advertising was seen by many a company as a luxury and not a priority, and certainly not a budget line worthy focus. However there have been some compelling statistics released from several sources in May that build a harrowing picture of the current state of the NZ job market.

It doesn’t make for a nicely wrapped “homegrown” story but there is a healthy chunk of the semi-skilled/low-skilled sector that has traditionally relied on a migrant workforce. Recent data from Stats NZ highlights just how big our loss of that migrant workforce has been compared to the record heights we came from.

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This has placed increasing pressure on companies to source talent locally, and if the recent media release from SEEK is any indication – the market is a fast becoming a pot on the verge of boiling over.

They have presented some powerful numbers, with a staggering 17 industry segments sitting at their highest number of job adverts ever posted within those categories and April being the second consecutive month of the highest number of job adverts ever posted site-wide, whilst simultaneously reporting that the overall number of applications actually fell by 9% making application rates the lowest since 2012.

You could be forgiven for thinking that there is a good news story in there for Hospitality and Tourism in particular, with a whopping month on month growth of 42%. However, when you pause to consider that, you’ll recall that the majority of workers in that sector have traditionally come from that aforementioned migrant workforce.

What does this mean for NZ employers going into the second half of 2021?

Well, aside from giving me a great justification for climbing up on my personal favourite soap-box, it means that companies are going to have to get innovative in their bids to attract and retain talent beyond job board advertising. Enter – the world of recruitment marketing and employer branding.

Employers will really have to put a spotlight on the current need to be seen as a brand – which includes their employer brand. Neilson is right on the money when they say that few brands have the luxury of continuing with the same ads they had in place before. Lana Busignani, EVP, Global Analytics said, “For brands, it’s critical to be seen as a source of stability during these times and to emphasise how they are assisting customers in riding out this storm.” There is a strong parallel to draw about the fact that for brands it is critical to be seen as a source of stability and maintain a solid level of employer brand awareness in an employment market with the widespread labour shortages we now face.

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Another Neilson report succinctly explains why ‘silence is deadly’ in the world of marketing – and indeed recruitment marketing. They provide some insightful statistics on what happened “when the pandemic hit and the difference between the brands that chose to go silent and those who doubled-down or tailored their messaging.” Those that reduced their ad spending or stopped entirely face up to five years to recover the resulting loss in their brand equity. Meanwhile the brands that, in the case of GM, went as far as to triple their spend went on to outperform the rest of their entire industry for the remainder of the year. The successful brands all made ‘smart, flexible, yet bold choices’ in their marketing approach despite facing new and unexplored territory.

Making smart, flexible, yet bold choices

So, if traditional job boards are overloaded and adverts are often floating in the endless sea of more of the same, how do employers ensure they get seen? All signs point to there never having been a better time to take that bold leap into employer brand marketing.

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However, it isn’t as simple as reposting that written job ad in another location. For a start, companies will need to identify what their brand perception and identity is (they aren’t always one and the same either!). From there, organisations need to figure out if the two align and what to address if they don’t yet. Happy with your brand identity but not so happy with public perception? There’s work to be done on the messaging going out.

To successfully promote an opportunity and your organisation outside of a traditional job board post takes:

  • More time and effort,
  • More than just a smidge of expertise in relevant areas; media landscape and channels to get that advert out there, creating engaging and creative visual material that people actually want to click on and connect with (rather than just a text-based laundry-list of the company wants),
  • Knowing how to say the most in the least number of words – ad space costs money!

Clearly, it isn’t a simple task facing those employers determined to get ahead and be seen. Luckily, it is never too late to make it a priority and break that cycle of unfilled jobs and here at HainesAttract, we specialise in just that.

Paij Whinery