Research from recruitment specialist Poolia shows that, having stayed away or gone home during the credit crunch, antipodean candidates from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are making a come back to the UK job scene. This is matched by sharp growth in demand from UK employers looking to make up for gaps in local skills by sourcing candidates from those markets.

Visits to online recruitment sites in these countries for UK jobs has shot up by over 45% since January 2010 whilst job ads and postings from UK businesses to those sites has increased by almost 35%. The main sectors include banking, accounting, general office and administration functions, education and health.

In addition, businesses that specialise in helping migrants make a smooth transition to the UK are reporting much higher take-up for their services, almost back to pre-2008 levels.

“The Lehmans crash had a dramatic effect on the number of migrants coming to the UK,” said Shaun Greenfield, Poolia MD. “Take the accounting sector. Before the crash, almost 1000 qualified candidates were coming to the UK, and fewer were leaving to go back to their own country. We think this means many were likely being taken on as permanent staff with businesses sponsoring more long term visas. This came down sharply when Lehmans collapsed, down to about 400 people coming over in 2009.”

Greenfield continued, “Our view at Poolia is that this is directly related to a partial recovery in recruitment, but more specifically, to the fact that there is such a dramatic skills shortage in the UK. These candidates are highly qualified: almost 50% have either a degree or diploma and about one in 15 has a professional qualification. The message is getting out to key markets overseas that the UK needs talent, and it’s likely that we’ll see a rise in the number of qualified, experienced candidates landing on our shores in the coming months.”

In order to attract the best of antipodean talent, and to streamline their transition to UK jobs, Poolia is one of the few UK recruiters to target job boards in these countries, and also works with local professional bodies and organisations providing help with Visas and UK residency. “We’re finding that UK companies like recruiting antipodeans for long-term temporary roles because UK candidates are really after a permanent position and tend to see temp opportunities as a stop gap. Antipodeans can actually make for a more reliable temp solution.”