The healthcare sector is facing critical talent shortages, and identifying effective ways to fill senior positions is more important than ever. The team at Yellow Folder Research, a company which aims to disrupt the traditional agency model of recruitment, use data to find the right candidate for each role.

Co-led by executive directors Julian Doherty and Nicola Wortley, Yellow Folder Research takes a proactive approach to gain a deep understanding of their clients’ needs. The team provides data-enabled talent advice and research solutions to help their clients gain competitive and tactical advantage when faced with critical talent challenges.

Such challenges can include a lack of available local candidates, a lack of diversity in local talent pools, remuneration or reward disparities, an ineffective employer brand or a lack of effective planning for new recruits, which leads to hastily made hiring decisions. The use of external market data for benchmarking and to validate the promotion of internal candidates is key.

The importance of research

In the healthcare sector, there are critical talent shortages. Pandemic-related policy decisions have restricted the availability of international candidates, and as a result, demand for nursing, ICU and respiratory illness-related expertise is increasing rapidly. Even before COVID-19, the healthcare industry was at a remuneration disadvantage compared with other service industries for certain professional roles and, as a whole, did not have a culture of proactive planning for hiring.

It is vitally important to use external market data, including relevant comparative information about competitors or peer-group organisations, to make informed decisions about talent – whether that be about who to hire from the external market, how to structure teams and capability internally and/or what are relevant benchmarks in terms of diversity and remuneration.

Hospitals and healthcare organisations are fortunate that there is a highly relevant peer-group of local and international organisations from which to source external data and create benchmarks for talent, meaning a data-driven approach has the likelihood of bringing measurable benefits.

Disrupting recruitment

As a research and advisory firm, rather than a recruitment agency, Yellow Folder Research is able to use insight, competitor benchmarking and market mapping to provide advice about hiring that is objective and data-driven. This, in turn, allows hospitals and healthcare organisations to take more controlled and informed actions about talent as well as avoid the pitfalls of the insular and traditional recruitment approach that is prevalent in the sector.

This research methodology allows Yellow Folder Research to source talent for its clients that is not readily accessible via traditional channels and direct networking, by using qualitative networking with well-placed ‘sources’ and market participants to obtain candidate referrals and feedback to inform their research output. This process is transparent and collaborative; the objective is to provide new and exciting knowledge to clients, not to replicate their existing information and networks.

The engagement and succession planning work undertaken by Yellow Folder Research includes strategic sourcing, detailed career conversations, and end-to-end candidate management aimed at helping Boards and executives with risk management and mitigation for key personnel and to fill a range of critical roles. Increasingly, the company is also supporting clients to apply a diversity and inclusion lens to the talent strategies they develop.  This approach enables data-driven hiring decisions to be made based on industry insights gained from competitor benchmarking, as well as market mapping exercises designed to identify talent with specific attributes (e.g., gender, cultural background).

A different approach

Yellow Folder Research executives Julian and Nicola explain: “The core principles of our service offering and consulting culture are transparency, proactivity, collaboration, project flexibility, precise scoping, and client ownership of researched information.

We are passionate about delivering high-quality research and insight to assist our clients in identifying and engaging with amazing talent. Among the organisations we have successfully completed assignments for are Q-bital Healthcare Solutions, Monash Health, Comrad Medical Systems and Australian Pharmaceutical Industries.

Our team is able to compile detailed industry, company, salary, and talent data including organisation charts, designs and structures, employee value proposition information, remuneration benchmarking, and pre-and-post acquisition audits.”

Beyond the presentation of corporate research and analysis, the company also provides further advisory services that include, but are not limited to; HR strategy development, talent driven advice on restructures, and change management and program development in the areas of people, culture, and performance.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Yellow Folder Research, please contact Julian or Nicola at or +61 3 9029 1411.