A Sourcing Update from ‘Down Under’

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Jun 17, 2013

As the great Aussie anthem from the band Men at Work – Down Under says, “Do you come from the land down under? Where beer does flow and men ….” well enough of that!

It’s great to have the opportunity to share the sourcing “lay of the land down under” with the SourceCon readers.

In Australia, during the last five years, internal recruitment departments have matured significantly, and are providing many companies with a robust and consistent recruitment approach. Until recently, the one area that had been neglected, or seen as too difficult, was sourcing.

Recent Developments

We have seen companies start to move to a more targeted sourcing approach for key roles across their business. There have been some leaders of the pack, mainly in the professional services sector. However, the resources, mining, and engineering sectors have caught up recently, and in some areas, are now setting the pace by assigning dedicated sourcing resources to their teams. There are a number of reasons why we’re seeing a gradual mind-shift in Australia, here are some:

  • With internal functions now more mature they can take on more strategic capability, targeting key skillsets, and proactively building relationships with these candidates.
  • Australia is a small market so being able to have a greater reach and tap into the passive market will increase the potential candidate pool.
  • Technology is making it easier to identify and connect with the passive market.
  • LinkedIn has a strong foothold in the market with over four million candidates on LinkedIn in Australia. Additionally, many now have access to LinkedIn Recruiter.
  • Job Boards (for Australia is the dominate player) are not delivering candidates with critical skillsets in demand.
  • Australia doesn’t have multiple resume databases, such as Monster in the US, with 10’s of millions of resumes to search.

The Challenges

The challenge in Australia is that the market is small, and many recruitment teams (internal and agency,) are fishing (sourcing) in the same lakes (Seek and LinkedIn). Hence, fighting for the same candidates. The leaders of the pack are now fishing in the ocean, and not relying on Seek and LinkedIn. These individuals are gaining a competitive advantage by uncovering ghosts (candidates not present or hidden in the lakes).

I admire the forward thinking of sourcers such as Glen Cathey, who teach that we all have access to the same data, but it’s the execution that sets one apart. In Australia, the forward thinking internal recruitment functions, and some agencies, are starting to apply and execute this thinking.


In comparison to other parts of the world, I think Australia is not too far behind, and in some areas, on the same level as the US or Europe. With sourcing, we are lagging behind and pretty much see the role of sourcing as part of the recruiter’s role. It seems that many leaders think that if they give recruiters access to LinkedIn Recruiter the sourcing problem is solved.

Those of us in the sourcing world know that the skillset of the sourcer is very different from that of a recruiter, and LinkedIn Recruiter is only one part of a sourcer’s toolkit, not the silver bullet many believe.

Australia image is from

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