Navigating the Talent Shortage in Australia: Why Speed and Agility are Key in Hiring

Navigating the Talent Shortage in Australia

The Australian life sciences job market is continuing to experience skills shortages, with employers across various industries struggling to find qualified candidates to fill critical roles. This talent crunch has intensified the competition for top talent, making it crucial for employers to adopt agile and streamlined hiring practices to secure the best candidates.

The data from On Q Recruitment’s 2023 Job Satisfaction and Salary Report highlights the pressing need for employers in the life sciences sector to expedite their hiring processes in response to the skills shortage.

According to the latest stats from the On Q Report compiled using data from over 2,000 life sciences professionals:

  • 80% of job applicants found themselves with multiple job offers in the past 12 months, up from 68% in 2022.
  • Hiring managers reported that 71% candidates have declined their job offers.

A recent whitepaper from WorkPro on the Australian hiring landscape echoes these findings, highlighting the importance of speed and efficiency in attracting and retaining top talent – particularly in high-demand industries.

The WorkPro Australia report reveals that:

  • 44.4% of candidates lose interest in a role in less than 2 weeks of the second interview if no offer or decision forthcoming.
  • 55.8% of candidates settled for a less preferred job offer because their top choice was taking too long to complete the application process.

These statistics indicate that lengthy and complex hiring processes are leading to a significant loss of talent, as well as increased turnover among candidates who are not fully satisfied with their job offers.

Both the On Q Recruitment and WorkPro reports highlight the competitive advantage that companies can gain by streamlining their hiring processes and making timely decisions. When employers act promptly, they not only demonstrate their commitment to attracting top talent but also increase their chances of securing the best candidates before they are offered positions by competitors.

Strategies for Streamlining Hiring Processes

In light of the skills shortage and the importance of speed in hiring, employers should consider implementing strategies to streamline their hiring processes. These strategies may include:

  • Clearly define job requirements and expectations – Involve hiring and line managers early in the process: Early involvement of key decision-makers ensures timely feedback and reduces the risk of delays. Aim to ensure a parallel evaluation of your internal & external applicants simultaneously.
  • 24 hours Rule – Establish upfront commitment from all internal stakeholders to making a hiring decision within 24 hours of the final interviews.
  • Prebook 2nd interviews – Don’t keep applicants waiting, pro-actively add place holders in busy executives’ calendars, aiming to reduce the time between 1st & 2nd interviews.
  • Protect your company’s reputation -Provide regular updates throughout the hiring process to both internal & external applicants.

Additional Considerations for High-Demand Industries

In industries like life sciences, where the skills shortage is particularly acute, employers may need to take additional steps to attract and retain top talent. These steps may include:

  • Remember to promote your noncash benefits and WFH policy guidelines.
  • Be clear on the opportunities you offer for professional development.

By taking these additional steps, employers in high-demand industries can increase their chances of attracting and retaining the best talent.


The skills shortage and the increasing demand for top talent necessitate a shift in hiring practices. By streamlining hiring processes, employers can gain a competitive edge and secure the talent they need to thrive in the current market.

Acting with speed and efficiency will empower organisations to attract and secure top-tier talent, a crucial element for success in today’s dynamic and competitive market.

Catherine O'Mahony
Managing Director/Founder
Catherine has over 25 years’ experience in scientific and medical recruitment ranging from executive search assignments, advertised retained to short term fixed contracts. Catherine’s extensive network of candidates and clients spans Australia, Asia, Europe, UK and Ireland.
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