Contingent workers in healthcare could be a lifeline for Australia

The healthcare industry here in Australia, and in fact, in most countries across the world today, are under enormous pressure.

This pressure isn’t just in hospitals, although it’s hospitals that are suffering the greatest burden of managing COVID-19 infections and deaths:

  • It’s in aged care facilities. With residents in lock-down, the demand for more staff is ever-present.
  • It’s in the healthcare supply chain. There’s a challenging decline in production from China of essential PPE items such masks and gowns, as well as drugs, hand sanitiser and other medical supplies.
  • It’s the stresses encountered by a lack of experienced workers; we’re seeing retired nurses and doctors re-entering the workforce.

Governments across the globe are injecting resources into the healthcare industry, to manage, contain and help stop the spread of COVID-19. In Australia, 100 respiratory clinics have been set up, to assess people with suspected virus symptoms.

Paramedic retirees and pre-graduates are now driving ambulances, to ease the physical and emotional burden placed on our ambo’s.

All these issues, all these scenarios have a common, and unfortunately, added stress: a lack of workers.

Talent Shortages in Health Insurance: Contingent Workers to the Rescue

The shortage of healthcare workers in Australia – workers easily accessible and easily deployable – is becoming a concern for many organisations in the industry. Despite the pandemic curve in Australia flattening, social distancing restrictions won’t be relaxed anytime soon, and when they do, it will be very gradual.

This means, that along the supply chain in the healthcare industry, workers are sought after.

Let’s take healthcare insurance companies as a case example.

At CXC, we’re working with a major Australian health insurance provider, who was required to step up the number of telehealth workers significantly, in response to the COVID-19 crisis.


Telehealth triage.

Telehealth advice.

And, call centre workers, helping this company cope with the deluge of customer calls.

For example, calls regarding elective surgery, insurance coverage during the pandemic, amongst a host of other health insurance concerns. All very real, very relatable issues for policyholders in an unprecedented pandemic era.

In this scenario, it’s been the ability of our team at CXC, to engage, onboard and manage the new contingent workers, for this health insurance company. Who knows how long this situation will be ongoing? The short answer is – no-one. Not even the WHO.

But our savvy health insurance client knew, through experience, how valuable upscaling contingent talent during this crisis could be. Through placing the employment risk, the onboarding and management of these workers with CXC, they’re able to focus on the delivery of their services to a concerned community of policyholders.

And they nailed it.

Technology, Manufacturing & Healthcare

The expanding demand from companies in healthcare and the health tech sector is another interesting point to consider.

With a heavy reliance on Chinese manufacturing, there’s a potential for Australia to disrupt existing supply chains, and establish a revitalised, high-tech, local manufacturing sub-sector. The need for medical equipment, medical technology, and medical supplies can’t be met right now, by the manufacturing centres throughout Asia – centres that have been on the rise for decades.

But what about local talent to do the job?

Kicking off a renaissance in Australian manufacturing has been a hot topic during the pandemic, and one that is suited to the flexibility and niche skills associated with contract talent – especially tech talent.

Coupled with highly skilled contingent workers, it’s global operations like CXC that have the experience, infrastructure and global sourcing strategies, to enable this renaissance to happen.

contingent workers in healthcare

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

Where Could Contingent Workers Play A Bigger Role in Healthcare?

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, Australia’s healthcare system was under pressure.

More than 17% of jobs created in Australia throughout the past five years have been in the healthcare industry (which incidentally, is more than any other sector). This, coupled with the declining use of skilled visa holders to fill healthcare jobs, meant talent supply in the industry was tight prior to COVID-19.

Now, as we sit in the midst of this pandemic, the situation is certainly getting tighter.

The issue in many of the hard-to-fill roles in healthcare is the extensive training, education and subsequent qualifications required to fill these roles.

From the data we sourced via Indeed below, you can see it’s the roles often requiring less training and qualifications with more resumes per posting.

contingent workers in healthcare


It’s these roles where there’s an oversupply of workers available to jobs open. But what if, akin to the approach taken by our paramedics, the industry looked at broadening the scope for some roles, so people with semi-related industry skills, could help to plug the gaps.

Taken on as contingent workers in healthcare for the immediate-to-mid-term, these workers may be in training to complete qualifications, they may not be 100% job-ready, but they could potentially be an untapped resource for the industry.

The beauty of engaging these workers as contingent healthcare talent at this time is a win-win for all parties to the relationship.

The employer gets to ‘try before they buy’ with talent who may be soon qualified to take on more significant roles. The workers, otherwise not active in the industry, get a taste for the front-line in very real, very critical scenarios.  And the employment relationship is taken care of – by us.  Where the employment risk, insurances and all statutory requirements are taken care of.

Worthy food for thought.

Final Word…

The onus is on all of us to think laterally and openly about how our economy is going to get through this period. A period that will go down in history as one of Australia’s (and the world’s) most challenging.

We’ve talked before about how the COVID-19 crisis will likely have a long-term impact on the way we work:  on how the workforce is managed, how it delivers an output and on our collective ability to adapt to the new order.

Now, both as individuals and as companies, we need to think smarter, we need to be more astute in how workers are sourced, how work gets done, and in fact, what work we’re going to deliver in our economy. Nothing is off the table.

The role of contingent labour in the modern workforce – and particularly during COVID-19 – remains essential. Helping business to better adapt to this new world, a world which will unlikely go back to ‘how things were before’, is crucial in 2020. Is your business making the most of contingent workers at this time?

As one of the world’s leading providers of contingent worker management solutions, CXC is well positioned to optimise all elements of your contingent workforce strategy. With operations in more than 50 countries across five continents and decades of experience, we can assist with every aspect of your program.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help please contact us here.