Tracking the HSE trends across ANZ

There are a number of important trends in the HSE recruitment market across both Australia and New Zealand that are impacting hiring managers and candidates, writes OHS Professional.

Alison Gill, managing director of edenfx HSE recruitment, says some of the latest national trends in the Australian HSE employment
market include:

  • overall job growth – slowly but surely
  • an increase of between 1.3 per cent and 3.8 per cent in salary growth across Australia (sector and location dependent)
  • supply and demand – with severe shortage of talent in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland
  • the mining resources and energy sector is again on the up – 17.1 per cent job advert growth compared with 2018, however, low candidate availability remains an issue
  • hiring managers require certainty in an uncertain market.

The trends are significantly influencing employment behaviour; rather than employment behaviour influencing trends as it has done for a number of years, says Gill. “Previously, candidates could command a higher than expected salary as a result of poor candidate availability – supply and demand 101. In WA, for example, professionals were very aware of the potential for a ‘Hollywood’ salary based on an organisation’s fear of not having ‘a competent person’ in place.”

This led to a disconnect between salary and competence levels and an unsettled market, according to Gill, who said edenfx HSE recruitment’s consulting teams have worked hard to support the stabilisation of salaries by working to sensible market rates rather than rates borne by fear. “The market trends are now showing that while job growth is steady, the salary increases are in line with market and professional services expectations.”

Companies are waiting for the right person rather than compromising in their recruitment practice, and this is leading to:

  • reduced churn as a result of poor hiring decisions
  • more permanent appointments rather than contracted appointments
  • practitioner commitment to CPD and evidenced-based portfolio of work
  • better workplace safety outcomes and risk management overall.

“Our HSE professionals are well paid in comparison to other previously aligned job groups, and this is testament to the recognition of professional standing and recognition of value and worth in industry,” says Gill.

Furthering HSE development

There are a number of important ways in which HSE professionals can develop their skillset, experience and education, according to Gill:

  • encourage entry of others into the profession
  • engage a mentor
  • undertake a self-assessment of skills/knowledge and ability
  • determine where you are now and where you want to be in three to five years’ time
  • develop a training/education plan to meet your current immediate and future needs – academic and vocational
  • join an industry body and attend meetings
  • enjoy directed reading
  • network with your peers
  • engage in a continual development program – you know it makes sense!
  • spend time with the regulator – encourage great relationships
  • spend time with the unions – encourage great relationships
  • spend time with HR – lots of synergy, workplace stress, bullying, managing sick absences, wellbeing initiatives – encourage great relationships
  • spend time with senior leaders
  • attend webinars (international, not constrained to Asia Pac) – horizon scan – what’s happening
  • let down the ladder for others – encourage growth
  • have a growth and winning mindset
  • step outside of your comfort zone (not your competency level).

“The list is endless, and it’s your choice to do as little or as much as you like, as this will determine your career and trajectory and ability to make an impact on workplace HSE,” she said. “It is a responsibility of us all to positively raise the profile of our HSE profession and the value and worth that it brings to all levels in a business. Understanding your level of practice through self-assessment is critical, and I personally and professionally recommend getting on board with a Continual Professional Development (CPD) program irrespective of your industry. This provides you with credibility and a peer network that proves invaluable.”

New Zealand and Australian HSErecruitment markets

NZ demographics play a large part in how business is conducted and the difference in the recruitment market, Gill observes. “New Zealand, much to the horror of Kiwis, can be seen by trans-Tasman employers as just another region of Australia, given the size of
the population and number of employers/ employees in New Zealand.”

Historically, NZ professionals have received lower salaries compared to their Australian peers, and Gill says the past two years, however, have seen an upward shift supported by legislative change and are realistically on a par. Status of employment is also changing, with hiring managers in Australia asking for permanent long-term resources, and rather than short-term contracted resources, are now looking for tenure for three to five years to make lasting, credible change. “As a result, professionals stay in their roles much longer and salaries are less volatile,” she says.
It is also worth noting that in NZ, hiring managers are expecting candidates to be aligned to industry bodies and on CPD programs. “This may be influenced by the lack of availability, choice and access to education and professional training and development,” says Gill. However, this alignment to industry bodies is not front of mind for Australian employers, but I challenge it to be so.

“Irrespective, both Australia and New Zealand are firmly committed to raising the standards of professionalism, and it’s a delight to work in the industry as a professional and an influencer for fellow professionals within the recruitment industry.”