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From Shortlist
Industry news & market intelligence, In-house recruitment

Australian employers are overcoming misgivings about offshoring and are moving towards solutions that include a mix of talent models, says the head of Alexander Mann Solutions APAC.

“From a trending viewpoint, looking at Australia three or four years ago versus Australia today, we’re pushing hard this combined onshore and offshore model,” Alexander Mann Solutions regional MD Neil Jones tells Shortlist.

There is still some “nervousness” about offshoring from local clients, but Jones has seen a marked uptick in the number of clients looking at offshoring support hubs, with about 30–40% of its services to local clients based out of its Manila centre.

“Australia was very anti-offshoring in the TA sector previously, and we’re definitely seeing it move. And I think it’s coming from budget constraints, margin pressure, and the enablement that comes from technology… to give scale and reduce costs,” says Jones.

AMS is building its strategy around clients who still want to control the talent acquisition function themselves, but are more interested in “partial outsource of unbundled solutions”.

That can take many forms, such as outsourcing administration, sourcing, specific projects, branding or tech consulting.

The semi-outsource or agile solutions model is very popular at the moment, and “represents about two-thirds of enquiries we’re getting”, he says.

New model gains traction

AMS is also set to capitalise on the increase in enquiries for contingent workforce solutions, and offerings outside of the traditional master vendor model provided by the big staffing firms, Jones says.

“What we’re seeing now is early interest in maybe a different model, what I would call almost RPO-contingent – direct sourcing, technology-enabled talent clouds, with a lot more candidate engagement, and talent pools that can be owned by the client.”

Australia has a broader mindset to talent acquisition now, Jones adds, which he calls “the total talent agenda”.

The first part involves employers focusing more on the “build strategy”, which draws talent from much more diverse backgrounds.

Next is increasing focus on internal talent mobility. “Lots of TA heads are really focused on internal mobility on a local, regional and global basis around keeping talent in the organisation.”

Internal talent teams are also taking greater charge of their contingent workforce. “In the past, it was procurement for contingent, and TA for permanent talent, but we are seeing internal talent teams increasingly take ownership of the contingent workforce – they’re taking a more ‘enterprise’ view,” says Jones.

“The future, we’re not just talking about putting bums on seats; we’re consulting, rolling out digital projects, we’re assessing digital products, we’re doing agile solutions. AMS’s DNA was in big, complex outsourcing solutions, that’s where we started in Australia, but the market’s changing with technology and ‘total talent’, so we’re having to have a more comprehensive and broader set of talent solutions.”

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