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Job hunters need to get real!

Job hunters need to get real!

Media release

1 December 2010

A new survey from global recruiters Robert Half International shows candidates have to be more realistic when it comes to the salary expectations that fit with their skills and experience in the current market.

Robert Half asked New Zealand respondents of the most recent Workplace Survey what were the biggest challenges they faced when recruiting and retaining skilled finance and accounting talent. Of those that recognised that there was a skills shortage, almost a third (31%) said new candidates had salary expectations that were too high and more than a quarter (28%) said candidates over-claimed their abilities. That compares with 20% of those surveyed who cited a lack of candidates as the biggest challenge when recruiting for experienced talent.

“Some of the candidates we’re seeing don’t have realistic expectations of what they’re worth in the domestic marketplace,” said Megan Alexander, general manager of Robert Half New Zealand. “They think about their value in isolation, without taking into account that it’s an extremely competitive market out there with more applicants than before competing for mid-tier positions.

“Candidates think that because they haven’t had a pay rise in two years that they’re due a big increase in salary when they switch employers and that’s not going to happen.”

Alexander cited the example of a so-called Generation Y candidate, who was earning around $58,000 and wanted $75,000 for her next position for no other reason than she thought she was due a pay rise.

“While business confidence is starting to improve, candidates need to be mindful that pay rises are not the norm and employers are still cautious and fiscally conscious. Some candidates will be prepared to do whatever it takes to get the experience they need, even if that means interning for little or no pay.”

The same survey found that 49% of New Zealand respondents said there was a minor skills shortage in finance and accounting professionals, with 23% saying that it was a major problem. Still, NZ was the lowest result of the four countries surveyed for saying there’s a skills shortage (74% saying there is a shortage to some extent, versus the Asia-Pacific average of 82%) and the highest for saying there is no skills shortage (17% versus the 12% regional average).

The Robert Half 2010 Workplace Survey questioned more than 1,600 finance, accounting, HR and executive-level managers from Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong and New Zealand, including 521 in this country. It was carried out in August this year.

*Respondents were able to select more than one option.


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