Guest Writer Series: October: Recruitment in a Lazy Market

In April’s “Guest Writer Series”, Jeff Bailey, Agency Manager of Frontline Retail Canberra, talks about the potential misconception that the “laziness” of our youth is what’s responsible for the current shortage of workers for Canberra’s service industry.

Read Jeff’s commentary on recruiting in a “lazy market” and see what his take on this hot topic is.



An article in the Canberra Times this year caught my attention and with the recent events around Brand Depot and the news that Costco will soon arrive…. I thought it was a relavant topic again.

There were two key quotes in particular that stood out.

“FAST food chains are struggling to fill jobs at their Canberra restaurants because they say the city’s youth are lazy.”

“Maybe four or five years ago there were a lot of kids who seemed to want a job, but there’s not as many as there used to be.”


It was these two quotes that have stirred the mouse in my head to get back on the wheel and push my brain to find an answer.

Four or Five years ago, the Canberra Centre redevelopment had not been completed, The then “Woden Plaza” (now Westfield Woden) was much much smaller, as was the Belconnen and Tuggeranong centres. Four or five years ago there was no Brand Depo and there was no Fyshwick DFO.

Our population has not changed much in four or five years but we have virtually doubled our Retail & Hospitality space. Prior to construction of the DFO in Fyshwick a confidential report, by Dimasi Strategic Research, which specialises in retail reviews, claimed that to be sustainable, the two centres (Brand Depot & the proposed DFO) would need to service a population of 700,000 – nearly twice that of Canberra’s population at the time.

I don’t know if I can comment on the city’s youth being “lazy” but I do feel that the city’s youth have the luxury of choice. They will take up a job one day and move onto another the next. They will do this because the new job offers better hours, more pay, is closer to home or the boss is nicer to them.


I refer to another extract from the Canberra times,

“Mr Stanhope said he wanted the ACT to grow by up to 140,000, or more than one third of its present population. “

Perhaps when our population grows we will have enough candidates to fill all the vacancies.

“The Chief Minister said yesterday he was confident the ACT’s population would hit the 360,000 mark before Christmas and that it would reach 400,000 residents by 2019, at least three years earlier than official forecasts”

Can your business wait 9 more years before you have a large enough pool of staff to find “the perfect candidate”?

In the evolving market it is becoming crucial to make more recruitment choices based on attitude rather than experience…. It is even more crucial to make that decision quickly because if you don’t… someone else will.


Jeff Bailey
Agency manager
Frontline Retail Canberra


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About Frontline

Frontline have been providing recruitment, employee assessment and training, and consulting services since 1995. With a tried and tested model and solid infrastructure, many of the solutions are in place that make the difference between success and failure from day one. Our goal is to help you meet your personal and business goals.

The culture and structure of Frontline is focused on attracting the best people to the company who will be developed, challenged and rewarded. The recruitment business is undoubtedly shaped by the market forces of the day but success is always built on people – and the best people are those who bring out the best in others to create inspiring and lasting relationships. When we have the best people we can provide market leading services to employees and employers alike.

Find out more, visit Frontline.