Australian organisations are becoming more open-minded to hiring tech staff based in other states and countries, as well as contract roles as a result of the pandemic’s ongoing impact on employment and work-from-home challenges.

According to the Michael Page Australia Technology Sentiment Survey 2020, 30.1% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that following their experiences of remote working, they were more open to the prospect of hiring an employee based in another state or country as an alternative to outsourcing.

It also revealed 39.2% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that hiring temporary or contract employees is likely to play a bigger role post-COVID-19.

The last six months have given organisations much more confidence on a case-by-case basis to look at remote hiring as a legitimate hiring strategy.

George Kauye, Director, Technology at Michael Page said the increased interest and shift to hire remote staff, either interstate or overseas, was driven by four key factors: confidence, attracting highly skilled candidates, culture and retention.

“Having experienced firsthand how employees have successfully worked remotely during the pandemic, organisations are feeling comfortable about considering candidates from other locations, as long as they can do their role effectively and contribute to the overall team culture,” Kauye explained.

“The last six months have given organisations much more confidence on a case-by-case basis to look at remote hiring as a legitimate hiring strategy.”

One of the biggest misconceptions for the current climate is that with more active candidates available in the market, filling roles should be easier.

Remote working gives employers options to help retain their best and highly skilled employees.

“The truth is, there is still a shortage of highly skilled candidates across a number of core areas including development (React, Python, Angular, JavaScript, Java and C#), machine learning, artificial intelligence, automation, cybersecurity, cloud technologies and ecommerce,” Kauye revealed.

When it came to budget for outsourcing, a large portion of the market allocates this to overseas third parties for certain aspects of the organisation’s technology functions.

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“This comes with advantages of being more cost-efficient and depending on the time zone, also creating 24-hour capability to support the business,” Kauye said.

“However, the possible downside has been the impact on culture and how these external resources interact with employees. So another option organisations are looking to now is not only bringing these resources inhouse in Australia, but having these overseas resources directly employed, which means cost efficiencies are maintained but the benefits of the business culture and team culture are captured.”

Connected to the challenge of the highly skilled candidate shortage, organisations equally cannot afford to have their top talent leave.

“COVID-19 has seen a lot of employees opting to return to their home countries or states to be with loved ones due to flights being cancelled or border closures,” Kauye said.

“Remote working from overseas or interstate now gives employers options in these scenarios to help retain their best and highly skilled employees.”

COVID-19 a driving force for technology contracting trend

Hiring contractors was already a popular solution in Australia before COVID-19, as a way to manage workloads while retaining the flexibility to adapt to changing business conditions.

To date, technology recruitment at Michael Page has been the least impacted market across the country mainly due to the size of the contracting business within our technology contracting practice, Kauye revealed.

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He explained the reasons for temporary and contract recruitment becoming a core part of technology during and post-COVID included:

  • With a level of uncertainty in the market and an emphasis on change and transformation, employers have been more inclined to hire specifically skilled professionals for short-term assignments to deliver on work they have a line of sight on. This allows employers more flexibility when it comes to notice periods, extending contracts and transitioning contractors from temporary to permanent. 
  • It also helps avoids scenarios of “adding too much headcount, too quickly” or being left with too much staff but not enough work.
  • The sign-off process to add a temporary or contract headcount is drastically less than adding a permanent hire. Depending on the urgency, this may result in a number of clients choosing to hire a temp first before transitioning them to permanent so as it initially onboard the additional resource to support critical projects or transformation.
  • Finally, COVID-19’s global impact has meant organisations that outsource certain parts of their technology functions may be forced on short notice to hire these functions locally in a contracting capacity. This has already seen an increase in temporary and contracting roles across IT service delivery and development.

The Michael Page Australia Technology Sentiment Survey 2020 was based on an analysis of 236 participants, conducted in July/August.

The full report will be available in October.

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George Kauye is Director, Technology at Michael Page. He can be contacted on 0415 435 650 or at [email protected]

You can also visit Our Recruitment Expertise to read more about how we can help you with your technology hiring needs and some of the key positions we have filled.

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