According to APG Workforce general manager Dhaval Trivedi, said businesses need labour of the quantity they need, of the quality they need, for the time they need, and of the skill sets they need. As a result, they are seeking greater labour flexibility.
“The market is likely to soon experience a structural change and need a massive reallocation of labour. All of this will demand flexibility,” he said.
Mr Trivedi pointed to past global experiences which he said shows that a casual or agency workforce has played a significant role in helping economies recover from economic crisis, whether it was the Australian economic recession in the early ‘90s or the global financial crisis in 2007–08.
“The recession of the early ‘90s brought about a U-shaped dip in job vacancies. The GFC brought a 50 per cent cut in job vacancies in a single quarter but in a V-shaped recovery, it led to the back-to-back recovery in the three following quarters,” he explained.
“Importantly, businesses using agency workforce recorded growth that was significantly higher than the rest.
“Much as COVID has brought Australia, like the rest of the world, to its knees, recovery should be a V-shaped one, with the casual workforce once again at the forefront.”
In addition, Mr Trivedi said recovery from economic crises in the past has shown how some industries recover faster than others.
During the coronavirus crisis, he believed the industry sectors that are likely to take longer to recover are the banking, finance and insurance sectors, mining, government and defence, while healthcare, logistics and construction are likely to see the fastest recovery.
In addition, as a result of the global pandemic, Mr Trivedi said Australia has already seen some significant changes in the workforce, such as the trend for office workers to work from home, the increased use of automation and the shift from quantity of labour to quality.
“There’s also been a rapid shift for employment opportunities from traditional industries like finance, banking, insurance, professional services and the sciences, through to construction, logistics, healthcare and more,” he said.
“The world has taken one massive leap towards automation, accepting technology with open arms. And the world doesn’t look like ever going back to its old ways of doing things manually. Whether it is about technology in manufacturing, logistics, workflow automation, or even communication.”