Workforce News: Data shows increasing demand for contingent workers

Australia: Workforce News – Q2 2 FY 2020


  • Contingent jobs on the rise (Sunsuper Australian Job Index)
  • Woolworths pay crisis
  • Labour hire licencing commences in Victoria
  • and Deloitte partnership

There’s been a lot going on in Australian workforce news lately. From new data showing an increasing demand for contingent workers to yet another major Australian corporate getting busted for underpaying staff.

Here’s a wrap-up of the latest industry news.

Demand for Contingent Workers on the Rise

The Sunsuper Australian Job Index was released last week, offering a plethora of interesting workforce news. Again, the index showcased Australian organisations’ appetite for contingent workers continuing to rise, amongst other interesting insights.

Provided here, the major highlights from the report.

Sunsuper Australian Job Index: Overall
  • The Sunsuper Australian job index rose by 1.9% in trend terms in the June quarter. On an annual basis there was a rise of 1.9%

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Source: Sunsuper Job Index

  • In the last quarter, there has been a significant shift from permanent to contingent job vacancies
  • In the past year, contingent job ads have increased by 14.6%; at the same time, permanent job ads fell 2.3%
  • Demand for professionals has expanded every quarter in the last year. June was the strongest quarter so far rising 4.6%. The annual rate of growth is bullish at 13.1%
  • During the June quarter, the ratio of contingent job opportunities (expressed as a percentage of the total market) rose 0.9% to 29.0%. Historically, this is a strong employment market so the numbers are encouraging for job seekers
  • With tax refunds on the cards and the RBA’s consecutive interest rate drops aimed at boosting economic activity, we should see some job creation and upward pressure on wages
Change in Sunsuper Australian job index
  • The market has shifted significantly from permanent to contingent employment over the past 12 months
  • Permanent employment saw a modest gain in Q2 after the declines recorded in Q4 2018 and Q1 2019
  • Conversely, contingent employment demand has recovered strongly from the mid-2018 slump
  • Movement in the national job index reflects the (weighted) combination of the two indices

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Source: Sunsuper Job Index

Occupational Overview
  • Contingent demand has grown in all occupational groups in the last quarter, while permanent staffing has declined in six of eight occupational groups
  • This demonstrates the breadth of market acceptance and demand for contingent workers in Australia
  • Managerial roles, not typically associated with contingent workers, rose 8.8% in the June quarter, which is considered a substantial increase
  • In clerical and administrative job categories, permanent jobs are down 2.4%; at the same time, contingent positions for these jobs rose 2.5%
  • Community and personal services are the only occupation group where the decline of 0.8% in permanent opportunities is materially exceeded by a significant rise of 6.4% in the contingent job index

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Source: Sunsuper Job Index

To review the full Sunsuper report, click here.


Australian Corporates Busted for Underpaying Workers

Last week, Woolworths in Australia made international headlines for all the wrong reasons: it emerged Australia’s largest supermarket chain had underpaid 6,000 staff over the past nine years to the tune of around $300m.

After a new enterprise agreement for salaried workers had been introduced, irregularities began to emerge, leading Woolworths to investigate with the help of consulting firm, PwC.

Woolworths has vowed to repay employees and former employees as soon as each respective year of the review is completed and said in a statement it was “deeply sorry”.

It’s also come to pass this week, the self-reporting to the Fair Work Ombudsman of other significant Australian employers for underpayment of wages. These include Bunnings, Wesfarmers, Qantas, the ABC and Thales.

What appears to be an epidemic of underpaying workers, is unsettling. Especially given the compliance information from Fair Work Australia is freely available to all employers. Principal lawyer at leading employment law firm, McDonald Murholme, Andrew Jewell

recommends establishing robust processes for all categories of workers in an organisation. This includes the correct categorisation of workers, upholding negotiated enterprise agreements, and avoiding careless missteps or oversights.


Victoria’s labour-hire licensing scheme commences

Victoria’s labour-hire licensing scheme kicked off last week, making it illegal for any organisation to provide or procure labour without a valid or pending licence. This is BIG workforce news for the southern state.

From October 30, heavy penalties will apply to labour-hire providers who operate without a license and to businesses that use unlicensed labour-hire providers.

Since April this year, more than 3,800 applications have been lodged, which includes over 450 approvals.

Similar schemes are in place in Queensland (which commenced in 2018) and in South Australia (which commenced on November 1, this year).

Now, if an organisation seeks to provide labour-hire services in the Victorian market, they must hold a valid labour-hire license, unless they fall within one of the exceptions set out in the Labour Hire Authority’s Regulations. To obtain a license under the Victorian scheme, providers must pass a ‘fit and proper person test’ and demonstrate compliance with workplace laws, labour-hire laws and the relevant standards.

The system will provide for a better, fairer working landscape for Victorian workers, as compliance regulations are clearly laid out by the Authority. Worker classification and award entitlements will be a major compliance measure, as Fair Work Australia seeks to clamp down on the epidemic of underpaying workers, by big business in Australia.


Freelancer Partners With Deloitte has deployed an internal talent marketplace for Deloitte, called MyGigs, to enable Deloitte consultants globally to more efficiently match skill sets with opportunities and provide greater visibility into projects and resource needs.

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