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Accessing the hidden job market

Wed 20, Jul 2016

Only a relatively small percentage of jobs are formally advertised through jobs websites, newspapers or recruitment agencies.

The exact percentage varies from industry to industry, and from pay scale to pay scale – with more higher paid jobs and management roles being filled through referrals and other means – but across the board it averages out at somewhere between 20 and 30 per cent of job vacancies being formally advertised.

The opposite side of that coin, of course, is that there are somewhere between 70 and 80 per cent of vacancies that are not formally advertised. This is the “hidden job market”.

So how to access these jobs? And why aren’t they advertised?

“Advertising vacancies can be a time-consuming and expensive process for a business,” says Julie Panuccio from Ostara Australia, a national not-for-profit that finds meaningful, sustainable employment for people disadvantaged by mental illness or other disability. “So if an employer can fill a vacancy without having to go through that process, why wouldn’t they?”

Julie’s role at Ostara Australia’s is to match job seekers to employers. “We assess their skills and attributes and also the particular challenges they are facing in finding work, whether that is a mental illness or a disability. We then try to learn what sorts of jobs or industries they may be interested in working in.”

“The hidden job market is where we find a significant proportion of roles for the job seekers that come to us for support in looking for work,” says Julie. “We can’t afford to just concentrate on the jobs that are advertised, we would miss out on too many.”

Julie spends a lot of time on the phone or meeting face-to-face with employers – both ones she knows or has previously made contact with, and also cold calling new ones – in industries her clients are interested in, to find out if they have roles to be filled.

“Sometimes through my discussions with employers we even create a role on the spot to help a job seeker get a casual or part time role and to help the employer cover an element of their business that doesn’t require a full time position.”

“We try to prepare our clients for the vacancy to make them as ‘job ready’ as possible – ready to step into a role and make it a success.”

Job seekers with a mental illness or a disability who come to Ostara Australia are benefited by being able to utilise the experience, expertise and resources of a national organisation to help them find a job – including accessing the hidden job market.

But what about job seekers who are not eligible for support through Ostara Australia, and who are actively looking to tap into the significant 70 to 80 per cent of vacancies that are not advertised?

“Print out a heap of resumes and visit the employers in the industries you’re interested in,” says Julie. “Always ask for the manager or hiring person, and if they are not available get the manager’s name and follow up again via phone call or in person.”

“Other types of networking also helps, either via email, the phone or face-to-face. Use social media like LinkedIn to keep track of vacancies and to contact people at organisations where you want to work. It’s all about persistence really. Persistence and patience, and not being afraid to cold call.”

Find out if you are eligible for support through Ostara Australia in finding work.


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