Sources of Talent in Australia

Back in April I had one of my many wild ideas, undertake a sources of hire survey for Australia, I mean how hard can it be?

The idea was triggered by a post from Phillip Tusing from Destination Talent so after chatting over a few days we decided to join forces and get a survey done.

The decision to do something was easier than the process.

We site up a site and grabbed a domain name,, it took about 6 weeks to draw up the survey and lock in some sponsors. We ran the survey for about 5 weeks, receiving 409 completed responses. Then we started the report portion, I had thought would be easy but how wrong was I. It has taken about 6 or 7 weeks to get the report done, and I have to say without the tremendous work by Phillip it would have taken a lot longer. In fact I want to publically thank Phillip for his work in pulling the report together.

As mentioned 409 organisations of varying sizes, industry backgrounds and regional locations completed the survey. A total of 92,136 hires were recorded using seventeen identifiable sources of talent for the period July 2008 through to June 2009.

The key findings of the report include:

  1. Source of talent varies across Australia with seventeen identifiable source of talent.
  2. Job boards, in their various iterations, take a leadership role being the predominant source of talent in Australia with 29.64% of hires attributed to them.
  3. Perceptions of the most effective sources of talent by recruiters differ from the reality of where talent is sourced.
  4. Different industries use significantly different sources to find talent within Australia.
  5. The different regions of Australia also seem to source talent differently, for example in the ACT 49.70% of talent is found through internal recruiters.
  6. Referrals as sources are not as developed as expected being only the fourth most successful source at 7.57% of hires.
  7. Print media while having a reputation of an archaic channel still exists as the seventh most successful source of hires.
  8. Employers and agency recruiters differ in how they source talent with agency recruiters relying heavily on job boards.
  9. Social media is in its infancy ranking last as a source talent in Australia, with usage higher in smaller organisations.
  10. Data collection is poor with over 7% of organizations have no reliable method of tracking their source of talent.

We are also indebted to Gerry Crispin for providing a comparison to US figures and Dr Ian Williamson for his insights into retention and alumni programs.

There is a lot more in the report so go download it and have a read, we hope that the report stimulates further discussions within the HR and Recruitment industries.

ATC: Dr Ian Williamson

Unfortunately the schedule for ATC was changed so I missed the first 30 minutes of Dr Williamson’s presentation, however what I did catch was very very good.

Employees are repositories of both human and social capital therefore talent retention is all about relationship management.

Dr Williamson (Associate Professor from Melbourne School of Business) talked a lot about boomerang hires and employee referrals as methods of recruiting that provides an extremely high ROI. Effectively leveraging the human capital of former employees

The benefits of sourcing boomerangs:

  • Lower uncertainty
  • Reduced recruiting costs
  • Reduced training cost
  • Lower turnover risk

But one of the challenges of getting boomerangs to come back to your organisation is addressing the issues as to why the employee left in the first place. Dr Williamson recommendation is to address these issues is through the use of exit interview results to address the reasons for leaving. Then during the interview process let the employee know that you have addressed their issues.

In today’s climate a key to having successful Alumni and boomerang programs is to ensure you are managing your layoffs properly – fair & consistent manner, outplacement etc. You do not want to damage the relationships with these employees as they are leaving the workforce.

Dr Williamson also presented a very interesting idea of using Alumni networks for short-term projects, a similar idea to one I put forward in the 52 Social Media Ideas for HR & Recruiting where internally you allow employees to bid internal credits for additional project work, once complete the manager then rewards employees with additional credits to be used on other projects.

Dr Williamson finished his presentation looking at approaches to managing external employee mobility. He sees three key approaches, the choice of which one to use depends on the strategic value of the employee and the destination of the employee. These approaches are:

  1. Defend against mobility
  2. Retaliatory
  3. Relationship

He put forward the following framework for managing employee’s who leave your organisation: