Breweries are facing a ‘perfect storm’ that makes finding and keeping key employees tougher than ever according to Brewstaff’s Nick Leach, who has some specific recruitment and HR advice for brewers.
The battle to hire and retain the best talent is not a new issue for breweries but it has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Figures from the Commonwealth Bank indicate that the Australian labour market has lost nearly 300,000 foreign workers during the pandemic, which has contributed towards a high number of job vacancies and a low unemployment rate.
Meanwhile the number of breweries across Australia is now over 600 according to the Independent Brewers Association, creating a high level of competition for talent in the industry.
Nick Leach, founder of Brewstaff, a specialist beer-industry recruitment and HR business, has seen the challenges that breweries are facing at the moment and says that they need to consider their recruiting avenues.
“Posting a job ad on a job site is the modern day equivalent of putting up a ‘Help Wanted’ sign in your window and hoping that the perfect candidate just happens to walk past and see it.”
Nick, as a specialist recruiter in the industry, talks with brewers around the country, and he’s noticed a shift in sentiment, with more of them prepared to look elsewhere for work.
“I know brewers around the country who are open to new opportunities. If the right opportunity crops up, they want me to make them aware and they are ready to jump.”
“To attract the best though you’ll have to pay above market rate in today’s tight employment market. And if you’re not prepared to pay that, there’s a good chance your competitors will.”
Beyond salaries, another key area for attracting talent for breweries is building a reputable culture in the industry.
“It’s a small industry and beer folk know the good and bad places to work”, says Nick.
“If you have the right culture, policies and procedures in place, look after your people, and make it a safe place to work, your people will be more likely to stay. They’ll also be brand ambassadors and you’ll naturally attract better talent to the business.”
Brewery HR practices have been in the spotlight of late with allegations of sexism and inappropriate conduct rocking the US beer industry and leading to a number of high profile breweries facing a backlash.
Australian breweries are not immune from these issues, which shine a light on the importance of getting your house in order when it comes to HR practices, according to Nick.
“It just takes one negative situation to blow up and your brand can be damaged”, explains Nick. “Breweries starting out small can easily overlook the importance of HR only to face issues later on as the business grows.”
“You need to have the right culture and frameworks, things like a code of conduct, safety policies and mental health procedures. It’s crucial that you can support your people as you grow”.
Brewstaff offer specialist HR & recruitment solutions for the beer industry. For a confidential discussion on recruitment, or for advice on your HR policies and procedures, contact Brewstaff Founder Nick Leach on +61 413 096 936 or drop him a line at [email protected]
Hear more about staffing, HR and employment issues facing the Australian brewing industry on the Beer is a Conversation podcast.