Employee, Job Market

Recruiting during economic uncertainty: 8 tips for hiring managers

Learn from Clare Ferguson, CEO, Verve how to build resilient talent pipelines, optimise your recruitment process, and showcase your employer brand.

Uncertain times call for strategic hiring. As a hiring manager, staying informed about the broader economic climate is essential for making smart decisions about your workforce. With global economic uncertainty casting a long shadow in 2024, the question becomes: How can you adapt your hiring strategies to navigate these challenges?

Clare delves into what economic trends we can expect in 2024, and more importantly, equips you with 8 actionable tips to address the hiring challenges this environment presents.

Forecasts for 2024: Recruiting during economic uncertainty

In 2024, expect:

  • Subdued growth: The Australian economy is expected to experience modest growth (3.1%) in 2024, indicating a continuation of the recent slow and steady pattern.
  • Moderating inflation: Inflation is anticipated to fall to 3.1% by December, offering some relief from rising costs. The RBA expects this to return to 2-3% in 2025.
  • Stable interest rates: Interest rates are expected to remain stable or increase slightly, impacting borrowing costs for businesses.
  • Tight labour market: The unemployment rate is projected to rise slightly (4.5%), suggesting a continued tight labour market, making finding and retaining talent challenging.

With these economic forecasts for 2024 painting a picture of moderate growth, easing inflation, and a persistent talent shortage, it’s clear that navigating the recruitment landscape requires a strategic approach. While a slight rise in unemployment might suggest a larger pool of candidates, the tight labour market remains a concern.

To succeed in this environment, hiring managers will need to equip themselves with the right tools and strategies.

Let’s jump into our eight actionable tips that will help you build a resilient workforce that thrives even amidst economic uncertainty.


Job Interview Tips

Economic uncertainty: Tips for hiring managers

1. Prepare for a slow and steady hiring environment

While significant hiring surges may not be on the horizon, it’s crucial to maintain a strategic approach to talent acquisition. Plan your hiring strategy with moderate growth in mind, focusing on filling critical roles that contribute directly to your organisation’s long-term goals.

For example, instead of filling every open position immediately, prioritise roles that address critical skill gaps or support the development of new revenue streams.

2. Stay informed about industry trends

While economic factors undoubtedly influence the hiring landscape, staying ahead of the curve requires understanding specific trends within your industry. This allows you to anticipate future skill requirements and adapt your hiring practices accordingly.

For example, according to IBISWorld, finance, healthcare, and technical services are the three fastest-growing sectors by revenue in Australia this year. Therefore, prioritising candidates with skillsets in high demand within these sectors will position your organisation for success.

3. Focus on attracting and retaining top talent

A competitive talent market demands a two-pronged approach to securing top performers – attraction and retention. First, focus on drawing in qualified candidates. This means amplifying your employer branding through initiatives like showcasing company culture, values, and benefits on your career page and social media. However, the equation doesn’t stop there.

The second, equally important step is investing in your current workforce through employee development and retention programs. Demonstrating your commitment to employee growth fosters a positive work environment (See: Why employees leave and how to keep them). This translates to increased satisfaction, reduced turnover, and ultimately, a stronger talent pool cultivated from within.

4. Amplify your employer branding

In an uncertain market, your employer brand shines brighter than ever. It’s the voice that speaks to potential employees, showcasing what makes your organisation a place where they can thrive, not just survive, in uncertain times.

Ensure the content you share on your website and social media tell a story that projects stability, highlights adaptability and shows a focus on employee wellbeing. Think: positive employee testimonials, engaging company culture videos, and clear visuals illustrating career paths. It’s also important to highlight a record of success (such as projects, tenders or awards won) as well as visionary leadership.

Industry Trends

5. Be mindful of potential cost pressures

Economic uncertainty can lead to fluctuations in operational costs, and you might be tempted to cut back on essential resources or competitive salaries. However, there’s a better approach.

By focusing on cost-saving measures within the recruitment process itself, you can optimise your budget without compromising the quality of candidates you attract. Streamlining interview procedures, for example, can be a great way to achieve this.

6. Adapt your recruitment processes

Analyse your current process and identify repetitive tasks that can be automated. This could include scheduling interviews, sending automated emails to candidates, or collecting basic information through online forms. Automating these tasks frees up your time and resources to focus on more strategic aspects of the hiring process, like evaluating candidates and fostering relationships.

7. Embrace continuous improvement

Track key metrics like time-to-hire, cost-per-hire, and source of hire. Identify trends and areas for improvement. Are certain channels or recruiters consistently attracting stronger candidates? Are there specific interview stages causing delays? Use these insights to refine your strategy and optimise your recruitment funnel.

8. Build resilient talent pipelines

Don’t wait for ideal candidates. Proactively build a talent pipeline. Identify key roles, target potential hires even if they’re not actively searching, and nurture relationships. Consider a talent relationship management system (like those used by recruiters) to stay connected and build a head start for future needs. Feeling overwhelmed? Partner with a trusted recruitment agency like Verve Partners.

Remember: While economic uncertainty may cast a shadow, it also presents an opportunity to refine your recruitment strategies. By adopting a proactive and strategic approach, you can not only weather the storm but emerge stronger. So, take these insights, tailor them to your specific needs, and build a team that will propel your organisation forward, regardless of the economic climate.


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