Friday, 19 March 2021 15:12

Trans-Tasman survey reveals businesses 'optimistic that COVID-19 job losses won’t be repeated in 2021'


A survey of more than 1,800 Australian and New Zealand human resources professionals reveals "a sense of optimism for the future with the majority of respondents expecting their workforce will either remain the same size (46%) or increase (39%) in the next year. Despite the economic impacts of COVID-19, just 15% of respondents anticipate a decrease in workforce size."

The findings are uncovered in ELMO Software’s HR Industry Benchmark Survey Report, which you can download here

Now in its second year, the survey is the largest of its kind in Australia and New Zealand and is a joint initiative between ELMO Software and the Australia Human Resources Institute (AHRI).

We're told the respondent optimism is "represented across all organisation sizes. Respondents from small and medium businesses (those with fewer than 200 employees) were the most optimistic with 89% anticipating the size of the workforce to remain the same or increase. This was followed by mid-market organisations (200-1,999 employees) at 85% and enterprise sized organisations (2,000 plus employees) at 71%."

"Despite the broad optimism across organisation sizes there is disparity among industries. Respondents from the education and training industry are the most pessimistic with 28% forecasting decreases in workforce size. This is followed by respondents in the arts and recreation services with 26% forecasting a reduction.

"Unsurprisingly health care industry respondents are the most optimistic about workforce sizes with 93% anticipating either an increase or to remain the same size."

The HR Industry Benchmark Survey Report "also reveals the challenges that HR professionals anticipate their organisation will face in the year ahead. Upskilling, cross-skilling or reskilling the workforce (26%) and leadership development (26%) were listed as top challenges for respondents over the next 12 months.

"The transition to flexible working has raised challenges for respondents with 39% reporting that getting consistency across all people managers to allow flexible work options within their teams was the top challenge. This was followed by maintaining adequate communication and collaboration between remote and in-office staff at 37%. Despite the challenges, 97% of respondents reported that some form of flexibility was made available to employees.

"Encouragingly, the survey also revealed that the uptake of various types of HR technology is steadily rising as HR professionals and organisations adapt to a post-pandemic way of working."

ELMO Software CEO and Co-Founder Danny Lessem said, “The survey results suggest a general sense of optimism among human resources professionals that reductions in workforce sizes won’t be taking place in the year ahead.

“ELMO’s HR Industry Benchmark Survey shows that the economic recoveries in Australia and New Zealand are underway and that businesses are beginning to focus on the many other workforce management challenges that lay ahead," Lessem concluded.

Sarah McCann Bartlett, CEO and Managing Director of the Australian HR Institute, said: “It’s a sign of the times that many respondents are reporting that their organisations are accelerating their HR technology adoption.

“This research confirms that skills development will be a key focus for organisations this year as they recover from the pandemic. This will not be possible without rapid upskilling to ensure their people have the right competencies across the board,”

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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