When I tell people that I recruit executives and board members for a living, they constantly make comments like “You must be really struggling to find good people due to the labour shortages”. My response is always the same: “Actually, it depends”.
The suggestion that labour shortages are universal is a myth. At Hender Consulting we are seeing both feast and famine depending on the salary level, discipline and sector. Chronic labour shortages at lower salary levels in organisations are indeed worsening by the month and this will certainly trigger wages growth. The scary headline CPI figure released this month will only worsen this dynamic as EBAs are renegotiated in the months and years ahead. There are also chronic shortages of many technical skills sets such as clinical health professionals, engineering and ICT specialists and the workforce challenges facing the aged care and disability sectors are extremely well documented. These are some of the famines.
Ironically, at higher salary levels, the fields for many of the senior executive roles we recruit are awesome due to the influx of outstanding executives targeting the best city in the world in which to live. We are now regularly ‘speed dating’ as many as a dozen top tier candidates for CEO and C Suite positions where our clients literally have too much choice and want to respect the depth and breadth of the field by meeting longer lists.
Virtually every shortlist in recent times has someone who has earned much more previously. In this pocket of the market overqualified continues to be the new qualified.
The fields for the board member roles are also generally outstanding with a strong supply of highly accomplished professionals exploring governance opportunities. This is even true for the voluntary board roles in our recent experience. These are some of the feasts.
The combination of both feasts and famines has created some unprecedented remuneration dynamics. If anything, the pressure on salaries for roles paying above $200K is actually downwards and the wage rises lower down the organisational charts are gathering pace. This makes it critical for business leaders to understand which part of the market they are playing in. It also makes attempts and commitments to achieve parity between different disciplines at the same level of management both unwise and unachievable.
Power is therefore oscillating between employer and employee.