Battle for mid-level staff: Hays

Organisations at risk of top-heavy management structure after favouring existing staff over graduates through downturn

Battle for mid-level staff: Hays
Recruitment battle for mid-level staff: Hays report
July 22, 2010

Businesses are at risk of a top-heavy management structure after favouring existing staff through the downturn while graduate recruitment fell,
says Hays.

The recruitment expert warns this will lead to a severe shortage of candidates with mid-level experience.

Director of Hays in Queensland, Darren Buchanan, says employers were reluctant to recruit graduates and entry-level staff during the downturn.

"At the same time, employers took steps to retain their star performers and invested in their development. Today, these people are progressing into senior or management roles, and employers are again recruiting at the entry-level, but this leaves a gap in between," Buchanan says.

"As a result, organisations are not only at risk of being top-heavy, but they will soon struggle to find candidates at the mid-level with around three years experience. The recruitment battle for this mid band will intensify and moving forward companies will find themselves under pressure to promote and up-skill quickly to fill and replace that lost layer of their workforce," he says.

According to Buchanan, this will create a significant challenge for employers.

"Those staff that progressed in title and career during the downturn will not want to cover the intermediate or mid-level positions that they have vacated," he says.

"They will want their career to continue to move forward, and employers, particularly medium-sized businesses, are already starting to question how they can keep these staff challenged, motivated and progressing.

"If they don’t find an answer, these staff will become disenchanted and look elsewhere as the top level of the organisation becomes compacted."

The other danger is that new entry-level staff will have no one at the mid level directly above them to look up to, in Buchanan’s view.

"With a whole layer of staff gone, they will look one more level up for guidance, but the job function and experience of employees at that level is usually very different from their own. This creates the potential for a greater ‘them and us’ scenario, which ultimately affects retention, engagement and productivity," he says.

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