Before the global financial crash in 2008, the job market was the strongest I’d ever seen it. The risk aversion was extremely low and the job and candidate flow was abundant. It was a classic peak job market. But, then the Global Financial Crisis hit and it hit hard. In 25 years of executive recruitment, I had never seen a course correction on job flow and candidate confidence like it. Literally, in a two to three month period, the job market reduced by more than 50%.

There were so many talented individuals in a upward career trajectory who were burnt. 

No one has forgotten that!!! Over the past ten years I’ve seen that job market shock embedded into people’s career psyche, permanently affecting how they navigate their decision-making processes in regards to an Executive job move. What we saw was a fundamental shift away from decisions made purely on dollars and cents.

With that experience embedded into our collective executive-psyche, you could say we developed a psychological safeguard against a repeat performance of driving a career based on numbers alone. We started questioning WHY we did what we did. We sought clarity around our own value systems.

Today’s era of purpose and values can be seen as a direct result of what happened because we started focusing on personal truths, authenticity and a sense of purpose. We became attracted to companies that resonated with our principles to the exclusion of those that did not. We became experts in spotting those companies which were disingenuous in their conviction.

Suddenly, it seemed like we all needed our work, our time and our efforts to mean something.

But something else started happening too. Some businesses pulled ahead because their companies were being led by people with progressive mindsets leading other like-minded professionals who wanted their work, time and effort to mean something; people who were open to innovation, to a better way of doing things. People not motivated by money alone but by purpose. 

What’s happening in the jobs market right now.

Today we have a market again approaching peak conditions because, in economic terms, it’s pretty consistent with 2008. But today’s strong jobs market is also about the success of progressive organisational cultures. A focus that is also attributable to a higher degree of innovation, disruption, change and transformation.

Essentially, the workplace has changed, so the workforce has had to change too. And it needs to keep evolving.

Delving into technology impact and the future of work isn’t the point of this article. Personally, I have experienced it to be largely overplayed and misunderstood. I’m not alone in believing that the leaders who will thrive will be those who understand the actual effects technology will have on skilled talent needs, embrace the change that’s coming (that's here), help their teams navigate it, rise with it, and create practical pathways for others to follow.

More to the point, technology’s impact doesn’t contradict our research via the clients and candidates we’ve connected with over the past few years. Through client insights, we have found, unequivocally, that the constant drivers for today’s executive decision-making are all based on principles and cultures.

That’s the biggest difference. That’s embedded. That’s not going away; it’s actually getting stronger!!!

What I’m seeing in the jobs market at the moment are two sorts of organisations. The one that has embraced the intangible assets of culture and are working out how to commercially use them to drive business outcomes, (sometimes a more protracted process than those maintaining a traditional ‘bottom line’ method); and those who don’t.

What I see is that those who do are the ones winning the war for the talent.

As Headhunters we will always deal with tangible, capital-related subjects when we’re briefing candidates on behalf of clients. But, to offer true value in today’s market, we have to understand the intangible assets of that organisation. As a company built on purpose, we understand this on a very practical, first-hand level.

Companies with truly progressive cultures are striding ahead on what will be a major battle ground in the coming five to ten years in regards to talent and a business’ viability.

Just read the findings of the Banking Royal Commission in Australia looking into business across sectors to confirm that!

The standard you walk past is the one you accept - ABC Analysis, Banking Royal Commission.Saturday November 24, 2018.

"Why did [the scandals] keep happening? Because they just put out the nearest flaming pile, gave money back to those affected and moved on. Or, as CBA chief executive Matt Comyn was forced to admit, there was "a culture of us not learning from issues of misconduct..."