The landscape of recruiting Credit Staff in Queensland has changed drastically in the past twelve months with strong business performance leading the charge to bring the value of quality credit staff into the light. The following is a few highlights and lowlights that encompass the everyday life of a recruiter specialising in credit, fighting the war for talent……
Quality Credit employees are finally getting recognised as being valuable assets to their companies. The average salaries of the credit staff we have placed in the past twelve months have increased a whopping 10-12%. This trend does not show any signs of abating. Average performers are already on 40k bases and you will need to pay at least 42k to get them. You will pay a little more for a top performer and much more for an exceptional one.
As a capable Credit Officer looking to move twelve months ago you may have had one or to career options to choose from now you would have at least five. Not only will your salary increase by at least 10% but you can usually negotiate other benefits such as financial support for study and time off.
The candidate shortage has created opportunities for credit people to move in other industries and for candidates from other industries to join the illustrious ranks of credit. This flexibility will enhance the Queensland job market where previously as an employee you were encouraged to stick in the same industry or career. For example. we have had several credit and collections officers who are undertaking Accountancy Degrees now moving in to roles as Accountants within Insolvency.
Are providing many more roles with variety and rewards. Some Government Departments have slashed the requirements on selection criteria to entice good credit staff to apply. Collections Agencies and Finance Companies are paying more realistic base salaries with performance incentives matched to goals that can actually be achieved. Employers are placing much more focus on retaining staff with reward systems other than monetary.
Many companies are realising the importance of using specialist recruiters because of their knowledge of candidates in that industry. Using a generalist is taking pot luck and unfortunately employers are finding that using their preferred supplier will only cover certain staffing areas effectively. Recruiter have more work they can handle because companies who were employing staff directly have found that the usual advertising mediums they use are not giving them the quality or quantity of candidates required. Where in the past you would get 20-30 suitable applicants on Seek you would be now lucky to get 3.
Pride cometh before a fall. It is surprising how quickly the pendulum of power swings with candidates, short in supply, sitting in the drivers seat calling all the shots. However, confidence in negotiating is something that can be respected but arrogance and unrealistic expectations cannot. Remember the pendulum always swings back the other way and employers have long memories. Treat people, as you would like to be treated not do un to others as others have done to you.
No shows – A growing number of candidates make appointments with the recruiter and don’t bother to call if they can’t make it and some do the same thing with an employer. It shows a distinct lack of respect and integrity. I have heard the argument that employers and recruiters lack integrity too especially, with returning candidates calls or emails. Some candidates ask “so why should I care?”.
Not all candidates are the same, neither are employers or recruiters. Some are good and some are bad. If someone lacks integrity why stoop to there level? From a recruiter’s perspective, if you do not have the courtesy to call me to cancel an appointment why would I ever consider you for a role? If you can do it to me you can do it my client.
Some employers do not believe that there is a candidate shortage out there. Our industry is getting plugs in the Australian Financial Review with blazing headlines “Credit Controller Shortage”, It’s dog eat dog in talent quest”. If you don’t believe it and any of your key credit people leave see how hard it is to replace them not to mention the cost involved.
It surprises me that some employers still drag the chain with their recruitment process. As a recruiter, time is of the essence, and we provide quality resumes as quickly as possible. When we get a job order it is always urgent. By the time the employer is ready to interview the candidates we put up they the candidates are now no longer available. We then have to start the whole process again. The second time around is much harder than the first.
Yes there are Credit Staff left but they are bottom of the barrel stuff. Take them on and you will get no end of trouble. It is extremely difficult to get good quality Credit Officers, Accounts Receivable Officers, and Collection Officers. Not many young people are coming in to the industry and many are getting out. Credit staff have found that there skills can be utilised in several different areas such as sales, marketing recruitment, accountancy and being self employed. They are finding that they are more valued in other fields and very undervalued in Credit.
No! No! No! It is not necessarily about the money(although it does help). It is more to do with being recognised for achievements, getting time off as a reward for top performance and effort or simply being valued as a major contributor of the company team. Even getting movie tickets, footy tickets or time off to see their kids school play can be the difference of someone staying or going.
The Counter Offer is the new weapon in the arsenal of the incumbent employer in the war for talent. “Let the buyer beware” The majority of candidates do not leave for money. They leave because of abuse, hate their boss, undervalued, micro managed and simply unhappy to come to work each day.
Yet this same candidate finds a great job with a great company resigns, accepts the role. Within a few days of them leaving their current employer, (the one who has made their life hell for the past three years), offers them a massive pay rise, I mean huge. You guessed it the candidate’s stays with the current employer. They are on more money but are still unhappy.
This same candidate will be back on the market within six months.
Perhaps I should have started with the ugly first, as I always like to finish on a positive note. There are still employers who treat candidates with contempt in the belief that they are thee “Employer of Choice” and you should be grateful that they would even offer you a job. These Employers have a rigorous employment process that puts off quality candidates or by the time they get around to interviewing the candidates whose resumes they select the candidates have already taken other roles.
There is still a resistance to take on older workers. This absolutely amazes me with today’s candidate shortage. Older workers are a valuable resource just sitting there which is constantly overlooked. I believe that each Credit Team should always have a more mature member. They have a wealth of knowledge that is difficult to replace, are effective stable workers and are a strong support for less experienced members of the team. They take less sick days, are usually much easier to manage, and they know their role backwards.
And the next twelve months?
I predict a continual shortage of superior credit people and the war for talent will be fiercer than ever. The main casualties will be small business who will not be able to afford quality staff. The scarcity of Credit Staff will be replaced by skilled people from other industries such as Hospitality, Administration and Customer Service. There will be less resistance to hiring mature workers. Salaries will continue to rise as will employee benefits.
Employers will improve the efficiency and speed of their recruitment processes but will be very selective about who they take on. Many companies are now using benchmarking and psychometric testing as an added tool to test cultural suitability, ethics, and integrity.
Recruiters will spend much more time with candidates than they have in the past and improve their performance in following up by getting back to candidates in a timely manner through the whole recruitment process.
Candidates will have a multitude of fantastic career opportunities to explore and many will realise that taking counter offers can be unproductive to their futures, unless of course the only reason they are leaving is simply money!