Australians losing out on employing staff from overseas

Australian companies are poor in promoting local job opportunities overseas, according to a 17-country global survey conducted by international recruiter Robert Half.

Local companies are losing out to their Asian counterparts when it comes to attracting international candidates, the Robert Half 2008 Global Workplace survey found, with less than a quarter (23%) of Australian companies actively recruiting from overseas.

Hong Kong and Singapore are beating Australia to it, with more than 50% of companies actively recruiting globally.

When Australian companies recruit internationally, they mainly target Asia (49%) and Britain (38%). This was followed by New Zealand and Western Europe, each on 21%.

David Jones, Robert Half managing director Asia Pacific, says Australians are not capitalising on the opportunities global recruitment brings, particularly in light of Australia’s current skills shortage.

“While there is a realisation within corporate Australia that internal job fulfilment must come from beyond our borders, the results show that we have not bridged this gap as yet in attracting the world’s best by promoting our economic outlook and high liveability conditions,” he says.

“Countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong are attractive destinations due to the appeal of securing regional roles, largely due to these countries hosting regional hubs as well as lower taxes and attractive bonus packages.”

So why are Australians not recruiting more from the international marketplace? Lack of knowledge of local legalities was the main reason (19%), followed by lack of local industry network (18%) and difficulty in obtaining work visas (12%).

“Overall, there seems to be reluctance on the part of corporate Australia to incorporate cross border opportunities into their recruitment practices, despite their global economic outlooks,” Jones says. “Our findings show that an opportunity exists for greater collaboration between businesses and government in working to overcome these issues.”

He suggests staff should be encouraged to inquire about overseas transfers with their direct reports, via global intranet sites and company noticeboards, tap into international media, keep up to speed with visa requirements and changes to programs and collaborate with Government funded programs.

According to the survey, Australian companies reported using online job boards (40%), industry associations (37%) and their own websites (27%) as the three main vehicles for attracting international candidates. Globally online job boards (39%) and internal transfers (22%) were the most popular mechanism to attract foreign talent.


Read more on skills shortage and employment trends


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