According to reports from the 2022/23 Hays Salary Guide, the skilled professional has become something of a unicorn, indicating a need for change across the New Zealand and Australian job markets.

In a world that seems to be in a constant state of flux, it is perhaps no surprise to hear that the employment market has also transformed over the past few years. This year’s Hays Salary Guide reports a skills shortage unmatched in the company’s 46 years in recruitment.

“Today, 91 per cent of employers are experiencing a skills shortage. The insufficient supply of local skilled professionals hinders growth and operations for 83 percent of responding businesses, the highest level we’ve recorded in the 43 years we’ve been producing the Hays Salary Guide.” – Hays Salary Guide 2022/23.

Those are some staggering figures – but what do they mean for salaries? From surveyed employers, 88% indicated an intention to raise salaries over the coming year. However, for around half of those, the salary increase was intended to be less than 3%.

Clearly, a sought-after employee is going to take some coaxing to take on a contract at your company, but the report indicates something we have known for a while: money is not everything when it comes to employment.

“Now, more than ever, employees are seeking personal value and purpose at work, and employers need teams that can work with ambiguity and have the capacity for continuous upskilling to meet future capabilities needed. Both sides need to come together to solve today’s increasingly complex problems.” – Hays Salary Guide 2022/23.

One way to solve both of these problems is to create positions that offer lifelong learning and upskilling, so that less skilled employees can fill the vacancies – while also feeling valued. When considering a new role, a reported 57% of job seekers will look for training, and 52% for ongoing learning and development.

This also means that many potential employees are taking matters into their own hands and upskilling themselves through professional development courses, adding technical skills as well as soft skills to their repertoires, in the hopes of filling some of these highly skilled roles.

Despite the skills shortage, 77% of surveyed businesses indicated a positive outlook for the coming months, in part due to a return to ‘normal’ after the pandemic. Many businesses are also taking steps to adopt new technologies and become more digitised, with digitised workstreams becoming part of office life for 50% of respondents.

Rather than replacing people with machines, this digital transformation has resulted in a headcount increase of 29% across the board. This is due to the capability to respond to workflow as needed and adapt to new ways of working, resulting in success and growth for the business. It also shows a shift in mindset when it comes to hybrid and flexible working, which means more staff can be employed for potentially shorter hours.

Change is the only constant, as they say, and this report shows that the job market is anything but stagnant. Looking to the future, it is important for employers to be open to new technologies and to keep their fingers on the pulse of new trends in job seeker motivation, in order to find and retain the right people and keep the business moving in the right direction.

Freerange Works runs an executive level training programme on How to Successfully Recruit and Retain your People which is funded by the New Zealand government through the Regional Business Partner Network. For more information and to register your business, visit the Regional Business Partner Network website.