3 min read

3 min read

25 June 2024

25 June 2024

25 June 2024

500K migrants looking for work and some employers are still complaining

500K migrants looking for work and some employers are still complaining

500K migrants looking for work and some employers are still complaining

Woman in front of a wall of candidates, she is covering her eyes with her hands
Woman in front of a wall of candidates, she is covering her eyes with her hands
Carolyne Burns

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Carolyne Burns

Carolyne Burns

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Employers complained about the lack of applicants. Now we have 500K migrants looking for work and some employers are still complaining.

After COVID lockdowns starved employers of talent. A fresh wave of skilled migrant workers offers relief to those Australian businesses which are prepared to tackle their unconscious biases and hire the best person for the job.

Australia has long been the lucky country for waves of migrants. Many migrants have looked to Australia to escape hardships such as war and famine in the hope of making a fresh start. Their strong work ethic has been the backbone of the Australian economy.

Australia’s talent shortage makes migrants valuable

The local skills shortage and war for talent has always made skilled migration crucial to Australia. The National Skills Commission report that skilled migrants help stimulate economic growth and jobs growth. This growth is to the benefit of everyone. Transferring new skills and new ideas to Australian workers can also make us more competitive on the world stage.

Embracing multiculturalism has enriched Australia in many ways. Yet, even today, our prejudices can creep in when weighing up job candidates. While it may not be deliberate, recruiters and hiring managers who skim over CVs to decide who makes the first cut. They can introduce unconscious bias and inadvertently cast some of the best applicants aside.

This bias can extend from discrimination around age, gender, race and cultural background. Bias can extend to seemingly minor issues too, such as judging applicants according to the layout of their resume or choice of font. Even the most well-meaning person can still bring these kinds of unconscious bias to the table.

Related article: Trying to avoid conscious and unconscious bias? Technology can help

The Voice reality TV hit show is revealing

Reality TV hit show ‘The Voice’ is a classic. It is an example of how sometimes you need to close your eyes in order to really see the talent that stands before you. The judges actually sit with their backs to the stage, so they can’t inadvertently judge contestants by the cut of their clothes or the colour of their skin.

By taking unconscious bias out of the equation, the judges can simply trust their ears and search for the greatest voice. Likewise, employers need to stop judging potential employees, including migrants, for the wrong reasons. Instead employers need to focus their attention on their characteristics and what they can do.

What’s in a name for migrants?

Helping Australian businesses fill thousands of roles each week, our data speaks for itself. We know from our research that if your name is Bharat Singh, then you’re much less likely to get called up for an interview than if your name is Bill Smith – regardless of what you’ve got to offer. Sexism and ageism also come into play when deciding who makes it through to the interview round.

Businesses don’t just have a moral obligation to stamp out this kind of unconscious bias. Businesses also owe it to themselves to ensure that they’re not letting the best talent slip through their fingers. Unconscious bias can see them overlook the best applicants. Unconscious bias can see them waste time and effort hiring people who are a poor fit for the job. 

If poor initial screening means the successful applicant is actually a bad fit for the job, they will often still stay. Usually they stay in the role for at least 18 months – even if they’re unhappy. They do this in order to avoid a blemish on their employment record. It’s a bad outcome for both employees and employers – in the end, everyone loses out.

More objectivity is required

The answer to addressing unconscious bias is not to hand over the hiring process to algorithms. Or to completely remove people from the equation. Instead, the answer is to take advantage of technology in order to be more objective when determining which applicants should make it through to the interview stage.

Using short surveys instead of relying on CVs, Expr3ss! quickly and cost-effectively pinpoints job applicants with the right skills, attitudes, temperament and cultural fit. The technology isn’t distracted by someone’s age. It isn’t distracted by their gender or whether they have a foreign-sounding name. Instead, it focuses on finding the best fit for the job.

The Expr3ss! surveys typically take around six minutes to complete. Employers can tailor the questions to ensure that they unambiguously address the requirements of the role, as well as assess the attitudes and temperament of each applicant.

Surveys can also include deal-breaker questions to ensure applicants have all the necessary qualifications and certifications before they are recommended for an interview. This includes checking their visa status and right to work in Australia, so you know up front if they have all their paperwork is in order.

Thanks to the borders reopening we once again have migrants that bring new skills and new ideas to our shores. They’re ready and willing to work, all they ask for is a fair go.

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