How to be a change enabler and land the passive candidate

Working Australians are excited by the prospect of change, but they need help. Excitement will only drive them so far and having the right tools and personal support is integral to helping someone go from aspiration to action. Emma Phillips, SEEK Director of Sales – Recruiter, shares her insights into what can be done to support candidates in changing jobs across their different life stages.

The majority of Australian workers are open to change; however, based on the trend data we have seen since 2010, it is likely that in 2015, only one in four Australians will successfully do something about it. Is there more that we, as an industry, can do to support candidates in changing jobs?

On the surface, candidates today are well prepped to be changing jobs: three in four Australian workers are either actively looking for a new job or monitoring the job market. They also have a wide range of tools and contacts they can access, often at the touch of a button, but something is holding them back.

We see a range of factors influencing this desire for change, with motivations and barriers to change often differing depending on the time of life of the individual. Our research suggests there is more we, as an industry, can do for candidates no matter what their age.

Ages 18–24

A considerably higher number of career starters (18–24 year olds) want to change jobs and do something they are proud of (43% compared to 25% overall). However, they're also the most likely to feel out of control in the job search process, citing a sense of uncertainty (48%), hopelessness (26%) and feeling overwhelmed (48%).

Change enablers: Encourage strong relationships with candidates from an early stage of their career to help them navigate their career path. Use compelling language in job ads that tap into a candidate’s need for fulfilment and a sense of purpose. Put the control literally back in their hands by making sure your clients’ job opportunities are mobile optimised.

Ages 35–44

In contrast, people between the ages of 35–44 have the desire for change, but we see a dip (14%) in the willingness of workers to change careers, potentially putting family and job stability before career fulfilment.

Change enablers: Tap into the passive talent. They may not be actively applying for your roles but by using SEEK Profiles, for example, it will allow you to contact passive candidates in a way that they're receptive to, no matter what is going on in their life. Combine this with an efficient talent search process that matches the right candidate with the right opportunity, and you could find yourself having an honest and open dialogue with a 35–44 year-old about job stability and family support in their next new role.

Ages 45+

Perhaps not surprisingly, the key challenge for workers over the age of 45 is their ability to keep up with a changing work environment. In fact, 37% of workers are concerned that their knowledge and application of technology will restrict their career as they age.

Change enablers: Encourage candidates to gain experience within work or look at study options outside of work. Technical skills can be learnt and there are increasing access points for up-skilling. In addition, help them look at the way their personal use or the use of their time volunteering, for example, has kept them up-to-date with changing environments and the use of technology.

All ages

Finally, across the board, at all ages and stages of life, there is an appetite for variety, with a desire for horizontal, as well as vertical, career change. The majority of Australians (74%) say their skills will be useful elsewhere and two in three would specifically like to work in an industry other than their current one.

Change enablers: Often hiring managers want candidates who have trodden a similar path before. However, a lot of value can be gained from placing a candidate with complimentary, rather than direct, industry experience. Find efficient ways to match candidates and opportunities across different industries.

Recruiters should ensure that their team is up-to-date with the latest industry insights and supply and demand trends so you can be an effective communicator, negotiator and trusted advisor, leaving your client feeling confident stepping away from a narrowly-defined field.

In a lifetime, Australians will typically spend a total of 13 short years at work. SEEK is asking everyone to embrace change and consider their current situation, making their time at work count.
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Emma Phillips


Sales Director – Recruiter

Emma Phillips is SEEK's Sales Director for the recruiter market. Emma is responsible for the leadership of the SME, large and enterprise recruiter sales teams. Having been with SEEK for 10 years, Emma has been an integral part of its growth story....

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