“You are clearly an excellent engineer but…”

There is clearly somewhat of an arms race in Sydney for tech companies to secure top engineering talent.

Asking salaries are on the rise, counter-offers at resignation time commonplace and there is a marked increase in average time-to-hire.  Great news for high performing engineers! And yet, in the face of all the growing demand for good people, lies a peculiarly Australian phenomenon.  One would think that candidates with degrees from top universities, proven industry experience (local experience of course, because how could we possibly consider overseas experience relevant) and the ability to pass stringent technical evaluation at interview time would be enough to land a decent role. Not so. In Australia, you also need to pass the “cultural fit” filter. Yup, in Oz, there is that mystical, intangible factor that too often gets between a top potential candidate and a great job offer.  Cultural Fit. Or, for want of a better word, discrimination.

Not everywhere, of course, is this a factor, and there are a host plenty of forward looking, pragmatic employers  who adopt awesome, objective hiring processes.  A walk around the offices of our customers’ premises is literally a tour of the United Nations.  But a conversation last week with a pretty disillusioned candidate prompted me to consider that what I thought had been eroded from the Australian employment landscape is still alive and kicking in some quarters.

 So why is it such a factor here? Is it because we are so good at hiring software engineers that we produce $#@!loads of world class software companies, traded on the Nasdaq? I’m counting the Australian origin companies listed on the Nasdaq on my hand and I’m getting as far as my left thumb….

I spoke with some industry peers in the US and Israel- both well known for the amount of software tech companies making it big. Do they observe a “cultural fit” factor at play? The answer ‘with over 20000 software vacancies in the US west coast alone- the cultural fit filter seems to have curiously disappeared- if it was ever there in the first place.’

 Are you still observing this phenomenon in Australia or is this only an isolated incident?

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Written by Richard Center,  Recruitment Team Manager and Director at Mantech.

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss future opportunities for yourself or for your team.

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