How do you attract and retain the best employees in today’s skills race?

By Ron Maxwell - CEO

With skills shortages plaguing multiple industries and a general candidate shortage across the board, finding the right people for your business can seem like an uphill battle. Working with local employers every day, the VERTO team has first-hand experience when it comes to matching employers and employees, and we see what the most successful employers are doing to attract and retain employees. So today, I want to share some of the trends we see and share our tips for finding the best people for your business.

Wages are important, but they aren’t everything

In industries facing skills or candidate shortages, wages are going to be competitive, and every employer must meet market demand in this space. But we already know that many employees, particularly those in the younger generations, value much more than the pay packet.

From your values to your sustainability credentials, development opportunities to charitable-giving and diversity, there are many additional ways to attract the best young people to your business.

Opportunities to learn are key

A recent global survey by PwC highlights that millennials value development opportunities over financial reward. And while this is often talked about in terms of corporate jobs, it’s something we see in the apprenticeship space all the time.

Apprentices and trainees want opportunities to learn – it’s the very reason they have chosen this career path. So, while your apprentices will need to accept that some of the work is going to be about those more junior tasks around the worksite or office, the employers who attract and retain the best talent also provide plenty of real opportunities to learn on-the-job skills.  

These skills will not only make your apprentices better employees today but will help them become assets to the industry – which is critical, particularly in those facing dire skills shortages. On occasion, we hear the argument that it’s a waste of time to invest too much into your apprentices because they may go on to leave you and become the competition. It’s true. Most, if not all of your employees, will leave you at some point, but it’s short-sighted for both your business and your industry not to help them achieve their potential.

Mentoring programs can play a role

Apprenticeship completion rates remain at around the 59 per cent mark and according to the

National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), one of the leading causes of non-completion is interpersonal difficulties with their employer.

For those who started out as apprentices, you no doubt remember that there were challenges navigating a whole new world of work. Some of the most successful employers in the apprenticeship and traineeship space are those that offer their new starters mentoring programs. 

By pairing your new apprentice with an older apprentice, a senior team member or external mentor, you are giving them a sounding board and someone who can keep them on track when the competing demands of life, study and work get overwhelming. A mentor can also help them navigate workplace dynamics, resolve conflict and remain on track with their apprenticeship. 

Empower your employees

I’ve seen it first-hand here at VERTO, employees across the board, but in particular younger team members, really care about your company values. And this not about paying lip service to the idea with a page on your website, it’s about showing that you live them.

From supporting employees to achieve work/life balance to showing you care with charitable giving or volunteering opportunities, today’s youth want to work for a business that stands for something.  So whether it’s financial donations to an important cause or volunteering your trade services to a local charity project, consider how you can empower your employees to have a positive impact.

Adopt a more diverse hiring strategy

I’ve talked before about the benefits a diverse workforce can bring across your business, and if you haven’t considered a more diverse hiring strategy you may be missing out. From older workers to the Indigenous community, parents returning to the workforce to those with disability, there may be a recruitment market you haven’t tapped into yet.

Alongside the many benefits of a diverse team, you may also be eligible for additional incentives or support. 

Work with an employment service provider

A local employment service provider, like VERTO, understands your local market and can help you explore all the avenues to find the right people.

VERTO even has a dedicated platform where school leavers and those looking to transition careers can find you based on matching with their interests and skills. CareerGate is free for both employers and employees and our team can help you determine the profile of the candidate you are looking for, and then match it to users on our platform.

In the last twelve months alone, 1072 young job seekers used the platform and we filled vacancies in multiple industries, from business administration to carpentry, landscaping and commercial cookery.

If you are looking to find the right people for your business, get in touch with the VERTO team on 1300 4 VERTO (1300 483 786) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We can help you understand your local market, identify the right candidates and explore any incentives that may be available to you.