(07) 3208 3888

Maynard Accounting has been acquired by Aero Accounting Group

Click here for more information

Employment & the Economic Environment

Employing team members has always been challenging. It is becoming increasingly so as every year passes. The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2007-09 triggered an increase in labor supply for several years and was a rare exception…

Before the GFC, Australia’s economy, as with most of the world’s, experienced significant long-term economic growth, along with a parallel demand for labour. Consequently, Australia enjoyed low unemployment rates in the range of 4.0% to 4.5% and increasing demand for new workers. Conversely, unemployment rates post GFC reached above 6.0% by 2015 and steadily declined to 5.1% in December 2019. Post GFC saw a slow but steady increase in demand for labour. Then the COVID economy hit.

In 2021 Australia is experiencing similar pressures but in a much more compressed time frame. The GFC played out over 10 years. The COVID economy is playing out for one or two years.

In December 2020, Treasury projected an increase in demand for new workers of 250000, a direct result of various stimulus measures. Post-December 2020, that figure is starting to blow out. As of February 2021, SEEK Employment Report showed continued positive year-on-year performance with an increase of 12.4% in national jobs advertised.

What does all this mean? When it comes to small businesses seeking new team members, they will be doing so in a highly competitive marketplace. Clients in the building industry tell me it is challenging and costly to attract new team members already. I have even heard of companies offering sign-on bonuses to lock in the right people.

Small Businesses and Recruitment in the 21st Century

So how are small businesses going to attract new team members in a highly competitive marketplace?

In the old days, a single job placement ad would do the trick. In the current environment, that is not enough. Small businesses will need a much more comprehensive and broader strategy. What does that look like in the 21st century?

Job Descriptions:

Job descriptions need to be compact and comprehensive. Contents? There are plenty of examples available online, but the following is a good start:

  • Describe as many details about duties as possible and where
  • Details about your business
  • Who the role reports to
  • Why does the role exist
  • Qualifications as appropriate
  • KPI’s and what success in the role looks like
  • Include a catch in ad placements – e.g., request a CV with a covering letter stating why they think they can fill the position. If an application arrives without an appropriate covering letter, you will know they can’t follow instructions. For some roles that are task-focused, following instructions will be necessary. Alternatively, if a role demands more creativity or initiative, like design or sales, ask applicants to upload a video presentation. In doing so, you get to check on those traits before the interview stage. The catch will also reveal how committed the applicants are and will likely eliminate half-hearted applications and/or inspire talented and motivated candidates.


Given the expectation of a highly competitive labour market, pay rates will quickly come into the equation. In some cases, money will talk. However, small businesses can offer something that many large companies can’t: flexibility and relationship.

Being flexible in the roles and time off could get a small business over the line. Likewise, working in a small team opens up opportunities to develop strong bonds between business owners and team members. This is common for many small business operators who have a small “core” team with others that come and go.

The challenge is, business owners may need to develop their own team-building skills etc.


  • Seek: Seek is the premium online job platform that offers solid backup and support, it is the best. It is also the most costly.
  • Indeed: My understanding is Indeed is a lower-cost option but also less effective than Seek.
  • Gumtree: Gumtree has a Jobs tab on their platform and worth investigating depending on the position.
  • Web page: Many businesses now have vacancy listing on their own web pages.
  • FaceBook: FaceBook has a jobs platform. My understanding is promoting a regular FaceBook POST can be more effective as you can more closely target demographics via the Facebook add platform.


There are numerous examples available online regarding interview questions, but asking candidates to complete a test or task can reveal their technical or motor skills and attitude towards following instructions or being creative.


Most, if not all, small businesses can improve in this area. A well-thought-out and structured induction process will help set your new team member on the proper foundation. For example, an induction kit that includes a video presentation of all the relevant topics, together with all necessary forms with instructions, video or otherwise, will set the tone and expectations of their performance.

But don’t get bogged down with producing an induction video to seek nominations for a Logie Award. It can be straightforward – a phone device, a $10 device tripod from K-Mart, a free LOOM account to record computer screen actions, and a free video editing platform will do the job. The BIG benefit of an induction video is: you have just automated your induction process, freeing up your or your team’s time and improving efficiency.

Maynard accounting has many years of experience in meeting compliance demands and helping small businesses steer their ship. For an appointment with one of our business consultants, please contact our office at your convenience.

Share This
Call us