Four ways the events job market has changed

If you assume demand for jobs far outweighs supply, you're misjudging the pandemic's impact on the candidate market.

The job market for the events, hospitality and hotel industries has been on a roller coaster over the last 12 months.

From the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020 to tentative signs of growth at the end of last year and then the dreaded end of JobKeeper in March 2021.

There have been terrible stories of businesses going under, qualified professionals applying for copious job roles with no response, and the further looming financial hardship for both candidates and businesses with no ongoing government support.

Despite these harsh realities, we have been lucky in Australia, with unemployment recovering quickly from 7.5 per cent last July to its current level of 5.8 per cent.

The Labour Market Information Portal has reported another 19.1 per cent increase in job advertisements for March 2021, continuing a consecutive eleven-month climb. So, where does that leave us?

Yes, there are more event, hospitality and hotel jobs becoming available (slowly) and while you might assume that the demand for jobs in these sectors would still far outweigh the supply, you would be underestimating the significant impact that the last 12 months have had on the candidate market.

At The Monday Group, we have seen first-hand that our candidates’ initial panic and stress from last year has morphed into something else entirely in 2021. And it’s having a big effect on the available talent.

There are several important factors all hiring managers and business owners will need to consider when hiring in this market:

Industry security

Many talented professionals in the events, hospitality and tourism sectors are wary of returning to what they now perceive as an “unstable career path”. They’re worried about job and financial security should another outbreak occur.

They see that ongoing domestic border closures and localised COVID-19 outbreaks are still dramatically impacting businesses. For employers, it’s important to address this concern and reassure your prospective new hires, letting them know how the business operates, what the future looks like and even discussing your initial and ongoing response to COVID-19.

Skill shortage

Another critical issue that is draining top talent from events, hospitality and hotels, is the (belated) recognition from other industries of the highly transferable skill set that these highly successful and diligent professionals have.

Many agency event producers have been enticed to move into corporate or government project management roles, many sales and business development gurus have been poached across into real estate and many operations experts and general managers have been headhunted to manage aged care facilities.

This drain of top event and hospitality talent means that there is a significant shortage in supply for certain roles. If recruiting for any of the above roles it’s critical for businesses to maintain momentum in the hiring process, those who stall or delay risk losing the talent they desire to other opportunities.

events job market
(Unsplash: Dylan Gillis)

Candidate mindset

This is the biggest change we’ve seen in our candidates. Whilst shocked and panicked last year, candidates have grown used to the enforced time off, they have learnt to survive on less and rediscovered what is most important to them.

While this shift in mindset is a good thing for our community, it does add significant pressure to employers in the events, hospitality and hotel industries during the hiring process.

Many candidates are withdrawing from job searches if they don’t get the “right vibe” from the company, don’t see the role improving their skills and having professional development opportunities, and many are not willing to go back to working crazy hours – they are looking for flexibility and a true work/life balance.

As an employer or hiring manager, you need to make sure the role you’re advertising is attractive and meets these new needs of the candidates or you’ll be struggling to find good people.

Employer branding

We recently wrote a blog on the importance of employer branding and provided some easy tips to enhance your company’s reputation in the job market. This is becoming increasingly important in the current job market.

The juxtaposition of limited opportunities in our industries but higher rates of candidate discernment means that the traditional viewpoint of candidates being grateful for any job opportunities is no longer relevant.

It is you, as the employer, who must sell the role and your company to potential candidates. And they are a hard sell.

This role reversal is not a new thing, or a result of COVID-19- we were always heading this way but COVID-19 has accelerated the trajectory and if you don’t take into account your reputation in the job market, you will find yourself struggling to attract the talent you want in your organisation.

The Monday Group is a boutique recruitment agency specialising in the events, experiential marketing, hospitality and hotel industries.

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