Speaking to many in the recruitment game, you will hear a familiar story — it is a candidate-short market right now. We spent some time with Reddin Group partners, Andrew Telburn and Merran Brown to understand why.

Andrew Telburn has worked in recruitment and talent solutions for the last two decades and strongly believes that Australian business confidence is up. Those organisations that have worked to find new ways of doing business during the pandemic are keen to keep pushing the boundaries of change. New roles are being advertised regularly, yet the appetite from the candidate market doesn’t currently meet demand.

“Companies are taking on large transformation and change programs in readiness for the year ahead, yet when we start to recruit, the talent pool is shallower than we have been used to,” Andrew said.

Andrew believes there are a number of reasons why recruiters are experiencing a candidate shortage and one of them is related to the long lockdowns experienced in both Melbourne and Sydney in recent months.

“Now that vaccination rates are high, particularly in Victoria and NSW, I do admit that I thought we’d see high numbers of candidates in the market, but that’s just not the case (yet).”

“Lockdowns took a toll on people’s confidence on a number of levels, and some are talking themselves out of roles before they even apply. Others are simply clinging to the security of what they know after a challenging and turbulent two years.”

Another hurdle for candidates is timing.

“As we come into the last months of 2021, people are hesitant to change roles so close to the long holiday break. Having just crawled to the finishing line, they simply don’t have the energy to put into managing the job search process, however, I do believe it’s all about to change,” Andrew said.

Merran, an experienced talent recruiter and former small business owner, agrees and believes that all the signs are there for many positive changes during what will be a strong 2022 for Australian businesses.

“Throughout the pandemic, many organisations have recognised that they don’t necessarily function well with the staff they have. It may well reflect in a number of employees, but more commonly in terms of skill set. The COVID experience has forced us all to work differently and pushed some change to the front that may not have organically happened for years. 

Having made the pivot successfully, the business has turned their attention to building high performing teams and recruiting the roles they need for the future. Consequently, many are now looking to build teams to take advantage of the opportunities in 2022.”

“This is coupled with the fact that The Great Resignation is already upon us. We are still experiencing uncertainty and employees have spent some 18 months reflecting on what might be better options moving ahead. People have had a taste of a hybrid working model and their expectations around workplace flexibility have subsequently changed. Employers must be open to different workplace models or they may be disadvantaged in being able to retain or attract the talent they desperately need,” she said.

Merran believes that employers must be open to candidates thinking much more deeply about their workplace fit. 

“Younger generations now applying for roles are extremely interested in ensuring their organisation is an ‘Employer of Choice’. They want to know that you share the same values. They want to understand what you stand for — whether you are shifting to be sustainable for future generations, your ethics and your stance on global issues. Those companies that don’t understand this shift and accommodate it, will lose the war for talent in the longer run.

Merran’s advice for those thinking about making a career move is that there’s never been a better time. 

“It is absolutely a candidate’s market right now. For those brave enough to jump into change, it is time for you to go for it. If you see a role you find attractive, throw your hat in the ring, with lower-than-average candidate numbers — now’s the right time,” she said.

Looking forward to 2022, both Merran and Andrew share great optimism for the business year ahead. 

“The shift in the way we work has forced us all to look at the way we’ve been doing things and whether there’s something better out there. If you can find it in yourself to see some positives from the COVID experience, this is it,” Andrew said. 

Merran agrees, “I truly believe that we can all build more palatable work/life balance going forward and I think if we can remain optimistic and curious about the positives coming out of this experience we will find exciting new opportunities ahead for us all.


As we head into the final month of 2021, we head in with optimism for candidates and employers. May they all find their perfect fit.

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