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A good fit

Generously sponsored by ProActive Recruitment, this issue of Logistics provides a special Supply Chain & Logistics Career and Salary Guide. In an 11-page report, we analyse the Australian talent marketplace. Skills shortages are on everybody’s lips, but what is Australia’s approach to education, training and professional development? Industry leaders unravel the issues and light the direction for change.

Salary trends and associated practices provide a strong barometer for economic activity. In June, we present April 2007 salary figures and current data representing views across the industry about recruitment and retention strategies and the expectations of today’s employees.

While salary guides can inform companies about the key drivers of change, it’s important to seek specific advice. “The perception of packages in the market is considerably different from the reality, with factors such as seasonality often overlooked,” says ProActive Recruitment director Ross Christensen.

“Apart from Western Australia where we could arguably be seeing a form of hyper salary growth, in some cases 30-50 per cent increases since August, packages are moving in line with supply and demand for candidates and the employer’s ability to pay.”

Reasons for state differences include the cost of living and the nature of the market. For example, NSW is a significant finance & IT centre with less of an industrial base compared to Melbourne. Talent is therefore more easily attracted to these sectors than that of the supply chain. Clearly, packages must also vary according to the size of an operation. “There must always be a link between value add and the package,” says Christensen. “It’s logical that a South Australian business with 20 staff and $10m in income is not rewarded to the level of a Melbourne operation with 200 staff and $150m in income.”

Like all goods and services, labour is difficult to compare across borders. UK packages are considerably higher than those in Australia, but so too is the cost of living. “In the ‘expat’ market, packages have cooled in the traditional regions of Asia, but are still extremely attractive in the high growth or danger zones,” Christensen observes. “These are short term career moves however, with associated risk.”

The major competitor to the supply chain sector is still Australia’s buoyant mining industry, in some areas, forcing salaries up by over 20 per cent.

But to what extent is the dollar a motivating factor for the current market? “For too long business has been highly reactive to salary demands, with major players in the transport sector believing short term measures such as counter offering employees will retain them,” says Ross Christensen.

Research consistently shows flexibility, applied both to salary packages and working conditions is equally valued. “Training, environment, proximity, brand, prospects and working hours all play an essential role in an employee’s decision making process,” says Christensen. “Over the past 20 years, I’ve rarely heard a client say the only factor for leaving or joining a position is remuneration.”

Salary packages of the future will be more closely aligned to market forces and business aims. For example, there’s currently a significant shift of around 10-20 per cent towards packages linked to business and individual performance.

Success will come for those supply chain and logistics employers that take a holistic approach to the business of attracting and nurturing their people.

Anna Game-Lopata — Editor

anna.game-lopata@reedbusiness.com.au

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