Why is it so hard to find candidates at the moment?


Planned Resources recruit across the niche markets of planning, engineering, architecture and design, property, and government support. We operate​ across private and public sectors in Melbourne, Victoria, and Australia. Here, Emily Burrell and Leigh Monro from our design team, look at the current market and why it’s so hard to find candidates.

We’ve had multiple clients report that they’ve advertised roles but had not received a single application, not even a bad one, so why is it so difficult to find candidates at the moment?

Covid has created a very different job market over the past couple of years. Blaming the current job market on the pandemic may seem like a bit of a cop out, but unfortunately it created various knock-on effects that the market is yet to recover from. The impact on both the supply and demand side of the employment market has been significant, and like a lot of things since March 2020, it has been “unprecedented”.

The impacts of Covid on supply

Firstly, Covid is responsible for less people being available to fill roles. Back when lockdowns commenced, the Federal Government’s Job Keeper payments didn’t include people on visas so a significant number of people who were being sponsored were also some of the first to be made redundant. At the same time, no one really knew what impact Covid would have on the economy, so the jobs market stopped almost overnight. The result of these factors meant those people were unable to find new jobs and were forced to return to their country of origin, while concurrently, many people from Victoria moved to other states within Australia as people grew tired of lockdowns.

Secondly, there’s been a reduction of people coming into the country since Covid. Melbourne Airport has experienced record-breaking lows in passenger numbers over the past couple of years; 2020 and 2021 had a 97.2% decline in passenger numbers, when compared to 2019. Of Australia’s four major airports, Melbourne Airport was the only one to not make a profit in the 2020/2021 financial year. Although travel seems to be returning of late, the numbers have not returned to pre-Covid levels. Since border restrictions ended there have been 109,600 new visa holders in Australia, compared to 194,000 new visa holders in 2019.

Demand side pick-up

However, the demand side of the employment equation shows a different story. There’s been an overall increase in activity across almost every market sector. In July 2020, despite the world seeming to be a very bleak place, our developer clients were experiencing record sales months, they were actively trying to buy new sites, and moving projects forward. While it didn’t seem to fit with the general mood of the economy, what we didn’t know then, was that the savings rate in Australia had quadrupled due to lockdowns: people were saving money, paying down debt, or looking at buying property – this was driving both apartment and suburban development, and the beginning of the Covid house price bubble.

In addition to this, governments across Australia began investing heavily in public works to ensure the economy wouldn’t fall into recession as it had seemed likely to do several months prior. This additional expenditure on health, education, community facilities and infrastructure has had an enormous impact on the market and has driven significant demand for personnel.

We’ve never seen a market quite like this in the last 25 years, and unfortunately it may be this way for a while yet as Australia continues to feel, and adjust, to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.


Written by: Emily Burrell & Leigh Monro

Leigh Monro, Associate Director

Leigh is our Design Recruitment Consultant and Associate Director. He is a specialist in Architecture, Interiors, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture. He is a true expert in the field and has been recruiting in this space since 1997.

Connect with Leigh on LinkedIn

Contact: 0451 674 977, leigh.monro@plannedresources.com.au


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