Recruiting professionals in a candidate short market


  • 89% of professionals would consider changing careers for the right opportunity, but a third of employers have no strategy to attract them.
  • Over 90% of professionals would be open to a job approach even if not actively looking, but two thirds of employers have no plan to reach them.
  • 72% of employers have been affected by talent shortages, but over two thirds have no strategy to address them.

New research from specialist recruiter Robert Walters has revealed that employers are still largely neglecting valuable sources of talent despite the ongoing skills shortage.

The study, which surveyed over 600 professionals and hiring managers from a range of disciplines across South Africa, showed that employers continue to ignore large groups of suitable candidates, including people returning to the workforce, international talent and professionals changing careers.

The survey revealed that while 34% of professionals have taken a career break and later returned to the workforce, just 13% of employers have a strategy in place to attract these workers.

The findings also show that 89% of professionals would consider changing careers for the right opportunity, but 32% of employers have no plan in place to attract them. 40% of employers would be unlikely to hire those who do not meet their exact recruitment criteria.

Nic Sephton-Poultney, Country Manager at Robert Walters, comments:

“In a market where securing top talent is increasingly competitive, employers cannot afford to neglect all sources of talent.”

“Professionals from other disciplines, international workers and those returning to the workforce following a career break are all potential sources of skilled candidates for employers who are prepared to be flexible in their hiring criteria and adapt their recruitment strategy to reach these people.”

“Employers that are proactive in exploring new talent pools will be best positioned to hire the markets most in demand candidates in 2016.”


Just four in ten employers have a strategy in place to attract workers who are not actively seeking a new job, despite professionals being overwhelmingly open to being contacted with potential offers of employment.

94% said they would welcome a referral from a friend or colleague and 91% would be open to being contacted by a recruiter or headhunter. The least popular means of being contacted among passive candidates was email (42% would not approve of being contacted in this way) and social media (38% would not approve).

Nic Sephton-Poultney continues:

“Employers looking for long term solutions to candidate shortages should consider the core skills essential to a role, rather than necessarily focusing on finding a candidate with specific industry experience.”

“By taking on candidates with transferable skills and the aptitude and enthusiasm to learn, employers can bring unique experiences and perspectives into their businesses while simultaneously filling business critical roles.”

For further information, or a full copy of the research paper please contact Monique Miller on or +27 (0)11 881 2416

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