COVID-based travel restrictions have run rampant globally, but these limitations have made themselves most prevalent in “Fortress” Australia A result of these restrictions has been a loss of skilled migrants in Australia. Closing the borders means less access to a broader pool of industry talent for businesses far and wide.  

While some companies might view this current landscape as limiting, it’s actually an opportunity. Instead of being overlooked in favour of worldwide talent, homegrown employees now can shine, grow, and flourish. Better yet, organisations across the nation have a chance to harness and up-skill the outstanding professionals on their own teams. 

Stop Thinking Globally

There’s an old notion of “thinking locally” and “acting globally” that’s been studied and analysed to the bone. In theory, it’s an entirely valid thought process and approach. When it comes to execution, unfortunately, the message seems to get lost. Many companies seem to both think and act globally. 

Instead of seeking the solutions right in front of them, hiring managers venture around the globe for skilled migrants, looking for magic bullets to solve their problems. In speaking to the above point, external hires are brought on board 18% more often than current employees are internally promoted. Understandably, employers are interested in external talent for the outside perspective and more worldly expertise. However, failing to look within means you’re missing out on a long list of benefits while contributing to many pitfalls. 

The Pitfalls of a One-Dimensional External Hiring Approach

What happens when you only bring outside, global talent to fill gaps within your company? It hurts employee morale and creates a glass ceiling. Moreover, it doesn’t do much for diversity, equity, and inclusion within your company. 

Look at this subject through a current employee’s lens. How are they supposed to react when outside people keep getting brought in to fill higher positions? They’ll see this like they aren’t being given a fair shake and excluded from the conversation of who can lead and impact the organisation. Remember, your people want to matter. They don’t want to feel like a cog in the machine. 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion mean giving everyone a fair shot to grow and develop. Strictly hiring from outside goes against that very idea. By favouring external candidates, you’re telling current employees there’s no room for growth. So, instead of remaining committed to your company, your team members will have one foot out the door, looking for the next better position to come their way. 

Why You Need to Look Within

COVID-19 aside, looking internally for homegrown talent, as opposed to skilled migrants only, and placing them into a formalised succession plan or upskilling program benefits all businesses. 

First, let’s look at it from a dollars and sense point of view: 

  • On average, organisations pay $18,982 to hire one employee  
  • The average cost of hiring a new executive is $34,440 
  • It costs an average of $23,059 to recruit senior-level managers 
  • Lastly, it sets back companies $17,841 on average to hire mid-level staff 

These results come from a survey of 1,500 ANZ-based HR professionals, as reported by Human Resources Director. Compare those numbers to harnessing and cultivating the people you already have in your organisation. 

For one, a properly executed succession plan or up-skilling program means you’re earmarking high performing team members who will deliver. These exceptional people will already have a firm grasp of your workplace culture and the overall business landscape in Australia, especially compared to migrant workers. There’s then the advantage that you’ve already hired these individuals. You won’t be investing in financially draining recruitment campaigns. Of course, you’ll need to compensate accordingly and give raises where required. Still, by developing skillsets from within, you give your business time to budget for those pay increases. 

Up-skilling and the Agile Mindset

Travel restrictions might shine a light on your need to promote and develop from within, yet these efforts shouldn’t stop after COVID. You can’t keep hiring new people every time there’s an industry disruption – it’s just not efficient. In today’s landscape, where technologies change instantly, and trends shift even quicker, agile teams are a must.  

As per a recent Forbes article, jobs that exist today won’t be around in 5 years. Teams need to up-skill constantly and fluidly to remain relevant and profitable. That means ongoing learning, training, and development to meet the continually evolving needs of your business. Agile teams that continually develop their skills will keep finding ways to satisfy your target market. They’ll also pivot when the time comes for change, such as during the pandemic. Don’t only rely on skilled migrants. Diversify your risk.

It’s time to start looking within your organisation for talent and stop relying so heavily on migrant workers during and after the pandemic.  

Do you want to know how we’ve helped clients with up-skilling and developing homegrown talent? 

Contact us, so we can help you create a straightforward, results-oriented framework that connects governance, delivery, and culture to help you thrive and organise. 

If you’d like to engage Fatimah as a coach/advisor for your organisation to help you make sense of the chaos, then you can reach out to her by email at