Organisations and recruiters must broaden their search to include expats returning home to Australia
What’s an untapped talent pool for recruiters and businesses?
Australian expats returning home, according to the new report ‘They Still Call Australia Home’ by Indeed and Advance.
The report explores the attitudes of Australian business and recruitment decision-makers towards Australians who have travelled and worked abroad.
It also captures the job-seeking experiences of Australians who have worked, or are working, overseas and navigating their return to Australia.
A significant highlight from the report’s findings is the need for Australian businesses and recruiters to broaden their search to include expats returning home to Australia.
Nearly three quarters of respondents (71%) reported a positive experience from hiring a returned expat while almost 3 in 5 (57%) of recruiters identified that recruiting returned Australians has a longer-term strategic benefit.
Recruiters expressed concerns that expat candidates who recently returned home lacked strong Australian business networks and nearly half (49%) of those returning from a stint overseas reported eventually finding employment through their own networks.
This demonstrated that expats returning to Australia are indeed benefitting from maintaining strong connections back home.
By overlooking Australian talent in global markets, employers are limiting their options. In fact, 65% of the survey respondents believe Australian businesses are creating an environment that discourages Australians working overseas from returning.
When looking for work back home, a third (34%) of expats who recently returned home reported not being successful in landing an interview for a potential role where their skills precisely matched the job requirements.
Almost a quarter (24%) of those surveyed were successful in landing interviews for various roles, they still reported missing out on job offers.
According to the report, it takes those returning home 2.1 months longer than the average job seeker to secure a job.
When it comes to the skillsets that they can offer corporate Australia, the ability to manage culturally diverse staff and stakeholders, global leadership and strategy, international regulation, and knowledge of emerging technologies are among them.
Given two-thirds (67%) of recruiters say they have struggled to find candidates to fill roles because of skill shortages or a lack of relevant experience, those returning home present as valuable talent and offer a potential solution to Australia’s skills deficit.
Paul D'Arcy, SVP Marketing at global job site Indeed, said it’s clear Australia has pull-factors that attract its diaspora back to the country and, as the report identifies, these skilled workers present a significant opportunity for recruiters and businesses.
“While most (83%) recruiters said they are cautious about recommending expats who recently returned home for Australian-based roles, we know diverse workforces are more successful than homogeneous ones, which is why employers and recruiters are missing out on an untapped pool of returning workers whose skills and experiences could positively impact their company.
“In order to reap the rewards of expats returning home, employers and recruiters could embrace a change in mindset to one that looks beyond its own borders to one that prioritises ability and skill.”
Businesses would do well to abandon any preconceived ideas they have about what a candidate needs to handle a job and adopt policies that make the hiring process more objective, he said.
“This will mean that in the global battle for talent, Australia has the opportunity to secure the best and brightest talent in the market.”
Yasmin Allen, Chairman of Advance, said that professional networks are critical to helping professionals coming home to reintegrate into Australia’s workforce and government policy is also key to supporting their return home to draw on their specialist knowledge and expertise.
Allen added that as a country, we derive value and benefits from encouraging our expats to remain connected with Australia and to come home to share their experience and bring their intellectual property with them.
“This in turn fuels innovation and benefits the entire nation economically,” she said.
“Additionally, expats themselves need to be prepared and mindful that things may have changed in their home country during their absence. Events might have taken place that have shaped Australia that may have eluded them, and they may have achieved a level of seniority that does not exist here.
“We know Australia can benefit overall from better connection with our diaspora and through Advance we help facilitate that, by celebrating and engaging our expats and encouraging them to remain connected, to each other and to Australia.”