Three quarters done, one to go. Here at Talent Nation we had an extremely busy financial year so far, with work continuing right through the Christmas period. Despite this surge in activity we are pleased to have been able to maintain our balance of of 70% within the corporate sustainability sector (including consulting) and 30% in the impact space (social enterprise, NFP, BCorp etc). Often we are seen as the canaries as recruitment activity tends to spike in advance of an upswing in business sentiment, and slows when the future is uncertain (and budgets start to tighten pre-emptively). Pleasingly sentiment is positive and despite minor fluctuations throughout the year the broader market is strong.

We’re seeing the majority of our projects being sourced in Victoria and NSW, largely driven by the volume and size of projects, as well as the fact that the majority of head offices are in these locations, where most sustainability roles are based.

Queensland has been picking up, with consultancies engaging us rather than the corporate space. Western Australia is showing signs of being on the cusp of their next boom with all the major resource companies ramping up- the question is more around ‘when?’ rather than ‘if’.


In terms of what is grabbing and holding the attention of the market recently, the Modern Slavery Act is on the radar of most companies. Greater focus on and transparency in supply chains has led to an increase in demand for individuals with procurement experience, not to mention a greater push from industry leaders on social procurement targets.

There is an increased demand for candidates with specialised reporting expertise with companies now requiring to report under more frameworks- although these frameworks are voluntary, there is a strong push from investors to use them- sustainable investing is becoming mainstream. Whether it is to mitigate risk, comply with regulation or have a specific impact, demand for these investment approaches has grown considerably and are individuals are reaping the benefit of their skills being in demand.

Climate Change is also on the radar, with a number of consultancies actively seeking this capability to meet client needs around TCFD; largely because their own resources have been pulled in house by their clients.


Skill Gaps – there is an emerging trend of skills gaps arising in organisations as practitioners who have traditionally been focused on the execution of programs have needed to be increasingly savvy in the boardroom as well as having a stronger commercial focus.

Inflated Salaries in Infrastructure Projects – similar to mining boom trends (although not to the same extent), infrastructure projects are stripping resources out and pushing salaries up. This will create the same issues as the mining sector when it dies down, not to mention the challenges for other organisations in different sectors trying to match these salaries.

Legislation – in NSW, changes in legislation have created strong demand for plant-based ecologists, which is pushing salaries up to an unsustainable level. On the plus side, it creates opportunities for organisations with a strong focus on their people, like Niche and Umwelt, to attract candidates who are looking for a work environment that supports them.

These challenges really highlight the need to keep a finger on the pulse of the remuneration levels in the market to identify what quality candidates are earning and expecting to earn. That’s why we are in the midst of compiling the 2019 Environmental and Sustainability Remuneration Report, to help our clients understand the right salary levels to attract and retain the people they need. If you have not spoken to one of our team about participating (and receiving a free copy) please don’t hesitate to contact us.