The year in review and expected trends for 2014 Posted at 0:00, Tue, 31 December 2013 in Industry Insights

Market focus: Australian technology and digital recruitment industry

It has been an interesting market generally in 2013. While we continued to experience consistent demand for talent in our area of focus, the market seemed generally a bit reserved. We feel that in part this was to do with an unusually long election cycle. It was as though some businesses at the higher end of the economic food chain were waiting for an outcome before they committed to significant investments in people and major projects. Additionally we observed ongoing structural changes across publishing, telco, banking and retail. Some industries are embracing change faster than others but there has been a significant shift towards business growth opportunities in digital customer / audience, devices, cloud services, data and insights. Organisations are seeking to develop new ways to monetise and leverage their core assets in emerging channels and markets in the face of emerging or imminent competition from new entrants.

We feel strongly that many RPO and large scale panels are being challenged around specialist talent demands. Running recruitment as a process either internally or as an outsourced service is a volume based, margin driven exercise. Most panels and arrangements have been built on this model. This has worked well for general sourcing across a large business hiring across their traditional roles which for most has been a more efficient means to control recruitment costs. For the past couple of years these traditional arrangements have started to fail in key specialist areas that are part of a broader structural change in the economy.

There is some great talent locally but the vast majority is fully utilised in high demand technology, digital media and marketing. With the levels of demand and growth we are experiencing there is no doubt our clients will continue to look internationally for returning and migrating talent to meet growing demand for talent in certain pockets.

Specialist areas of demand require specialist expertise, international research based sourcing, market mapping, developing new employer propositions and cross market competitive intelligence. A low margin, volume based model tends not to support these activities in a sustainable way.

Our main points for 2014:

In short we expect to see companies re-calibrate their recruitment strategies for certain categories including change and innovation that will support significant hiring growth in these areas through 2014 and beyond.

We expect to see a continuation of demand for international talent in these categories but also an increase in demand for talent in overseas markets driving more competition locally for top tier expertise. A falling Australian dollar could exacerbate this issue making other markets more attractive to talent here and opportunities here less economic for offshore talent.

We are also expecting to see more clients looking to grow from ANZ into international jurisdictions particularly within strategic Asian markets where they will need to compete for executive and specialist talent. This will also require new strategies and sensitivity to the cultural nuances, opportunities and challenges that these markets present.

Jon Tanner on LinkedIn.


Inspired by the internet boom, Jon Tanner co-founded the MitchelLake Group in 2001 and has been advising startup, scale-up and enterprise clients on leadership, executive search and talent acquisition for digital ventures and initiatives for the best part of two decades.

Whether the challenge is about inspiring change, driving growth or entering new markets, it is likely that Jon has a reference-able story, insight or introduction that can help shed light on a way forward.

As Group CEO and Managing Partner of our global search practice, Jon is based in Singapore and works across our international hubs in APAC, North America, and Europe. He directly supports global clients, collaborating with the broader MitchelLake team and continuing to build our collective ecosystem of exceptional talent and partner organisations.

Jon is an active early stage investor and passionate supporter of entrepreneurs, ventures and innovation in Asia Pacific and beyond, including interests in SocietyOne, Biteable, Blackbird VC and Genos International.