The notion of understanding the talent market is as old as recruitment.
In times of a talent abundance – that is, when there are plenty of candidates around – it’s not overly important to have a strong understanding of the market. But as we all well know the opposite is true right now, and we are facing an extreme talent shortage. This means that strong talent intelligence is a critical skill we all need to focus on right now.
Gathering insights to find talent
This was highlighted to me recently when I helped one of our sponsors, Globalization Partners, understand the global demand and supply for a front-end developer. My goal was to understand the demand and supply in Australia compared to Asia, Europe, and the Americas. It sure was an interesting exercise; I discovered that the supply of this skill was much more abundant in supply India and China, than in Australia.
So what did I do with this information? Well I:
- Searched Seek, LinkedIn, Indeed, Hot Jobs, and a couple of Asian job boards to understand the aggregate demand by location;
- Used a global sourcing tool HireEze to search by location to understand the aggregate talent in those markets. (I also looked at LinkedIn for this); and
- Gathered the salary information from a sample of the jobs advertised by location
While this was rough and ready, I now understood the demand the supply and pay rate/ranges for this skill by location. And while this insight took me ½ a day of work, if I had a hiring manager who was interested in this skill and recruited for it on an ongoing basis, this information would be absolute gold.
The cost of not understanding your market
Interestingly, while looking at Seek I noticed a client of mine searching for this exact skill, but at the low quartile of the salary range that I had just discovered. Out of curiosity I reached out to the Talent Acquisition Manager later to ask whether this role had ben filled. The answer? No. It was still open, and had been for 45 days.
So I shared my research with them and it was a real WOW for them. They were then able to speak with the Hiring Manager to decided on an alternate course of action:
- Increase the value proposition to align to the mid-point; or
- Source the skill from overseas; or
- Reduce the requirements of the job to widen the candidate pool; or
- Consider internal candidates that may have potential to be trained into the role; or
- Hire a contractor.
Prioritising Talent Intelligence
I find it interesting that we value this talent intelligence so highly, yet for the most part the time we have available to undertake this research or the value we place on doing this work does not align.
So how can you help prioritise gathering talent intelligence into your recruitment process? Ask yourself:
- What is the most important critical and scarce skill that is required by your business?
- How well do you understand this skill in your market?
- When was the last time you conducted research to update your Hiring Manager?
- How do you make decisions about ‘Make’ versus ‘Buy’?
- How would you go about understanding the market for that skill?
None of the above is rocket science and it can be readily done from a sample perspective. By working through that checklist of questions you’ll illuminate so much important information that will help with your search and subsequent placement, and give you a better platform to make informed decisions about the type of skill, where it was located, whether you should ‘make’ versus ‘buy’ talent.
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