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We are in a two speed economy.

Areas that continue to be impacted including tourism, retail, hospitality will come under renewed pressure as the government’s $90 billion JobKeeper support, which ended on 28 March, becomes a distant memory. 

Meanwhile other businesses that were surviving thanks to JobKeeper and small or medium-sized businesses across Australia are likely to feel the pain acutely with overheads being a major cost and with little to fall back on. 

The government’s decision to withdraw support means at least 5,000 Australian companies are expected to collapse in the next three months, which may lead to more redundancies and job uncertainty for workers employed by companies across many sectors.

But it’s not all bad news. 

Companies in the transport, logistics, technologies and healthcare sectors are booming with rapid growth in their respective markets. As such they are struggling to find enough skilled people to take up opportunities. 

Lauren Bourke, Randstad’s national transport lead, is witnessing a growth across the sector. “Transport and logistics tends to be a bellwether for the wider economy and currently we are seeing record demand for workers in the sector as Australia’s economy quickly recovers. Logistics companies are quickly trying to hire to take up the market opportunity”. 

The bottom line is, no business, no matter how they are affected, wants to waste another year.

So right now, it’s about making good decisions. Keeping people at the centre can provide a guide to help businesses navigate an uncertain period.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed the jobs landscape so HR teams across Australia are having a challenging time managing the shift. As the economy is growing again, workers in areas of businesses that are struggling, such as travel and accommodation, will need to be transitioned. 

Workers who are able to identify their transferable skills, educate themselves about the industry they want to move into, network and talk to people in that industry and seek the right support from HR teams or recruiters are likely to be the most successful at transitioning to a new industry.

At the same time, areas of businesses that are doing well may need more talent. Some staff will be able to be transitioned to growth areas, but as demand outstrips supply more hires may be needed. The challenge is double headed.

During COVID-19, jobs with programming skills, maths, tech design and analysing data or information were among the fastest growing. Meanwhile demand for workers in the healthcare, education, construction or technology industries is expected to boom as we enter the post-COVID-19 era.

A recent study conducted by RMIT Online and Deloitte on the future of work revealed that digital literacy skills will be in particularly high demand in Australia over the next few years. The report predicts Australia will need 156,000 more digital technology workers by 2025.

But continued uncertainty around COVID-19 and the way it affects both our daily and working lives makes HR professionals nervous. Understandably, making permanent hires amid the constant threat of lockdowns and restrictions on movement makes it difficult for HR.

But contract hires are able to provide organisations with a solution for the flexibility required to operate in a fast changing environment. At Randstad we have a range of solutions to help businesses meet cyclical demand with temporary staff. Our vast data-base which includes over two million candidates, enables us to quickly locate and place flexible staff that meet business needs. Aside from finding the right staff, we can also help manage them through our workforce management solutions

Another solution companies are looking at is automation. It’s estimated that, by 2030, between 25% and 46% of job tasks in Australia could be automated. 

The rapid digital transformation that many companies have been forced to go through has demonstrated the power of technology in streamlining many manual tasks. It is not just manufacturing that can be automated, legal, marketing, business intelligence, and HR functions all have areas that can benefit from AI, bots and the smart use of data. Automation is particularly dominant in Australia’s finance, accounting and procurement sectors which perform highly structured administrative tasks.

Organisations who implement such automation processes should benefit from a more agile approach and a reduction in costs - as much as 51%. Automation could be thought of as a complementary workforce, working hand-in-hand with people to help them improve their performance and focus their time on other, higher-priority tasks, strategy and innovation, releasing up to 25% of operational capacity.

Randstad Technologies helps to create the talent-driven strategies that help our clients gain a competitive edge. Our solutions, which span recruitment, consulting, projects and staff augmentation help to create enormous potential for businesses looking to embark on a technology-based solution to their staffing needs.

about the author
Nick Pesch

Nick Pesch

chief executive officer australia & new zealand