Disruption and the Big Reset

We had all become used to disruption in our business and personal lives.  Usually clever, cool tech being used to help disrupt a single industry.  But the COVID-19 pandemic is very different and within what seemed only a few days disruption was upon all of us in every facet of our personal and working lives and on a scale we could never have imagined.  We are now living through a moment in history where the whole world is being disrupted.  Yes, it’s a master global reset with country lockdowns, economies frozen, health systems stretched to breaking point and whole societies being isolated and given more time than ever to rethink their lives.

Even Greta is off the front pages and doesn’t have a quick answer to this one.

In our industry, recruitment and labour hire, everyone is scrambling to adjust and for many in the wrong sectors, even just to survive.  As a supplier to the industry, one real positive is that we are seeing a level of cooperation up and down the supply chain that we’ve never seen before, a recognition that we are actually “all in this together” and need each other more than ever.

With a large proportion of the leading ANZ agencies, big and small being FastTrack customers we are more mindful than ever of the critical importance the FastTrack360 platform plays in the success of our customers business. It’s why we moved quickly to our BCP plan over two weeks ago, literally overnight getting our employees safely working efficiently and effectively as usual from home.  Communicating regularly to our customers, our service didn’t miss a beat.  Developing disaster plans and moving through ISO27001 accreditation has never been the most exciting part of the business but now we are so glad we did.  Thank goodness for the internet, cloud based solutions and the availability of low cost video communications that have moved easily with our workforce and allowed our people and our customers to keep collaborating and enjoying virtual face-to-face contact.  I can’t imagine how we would have made this same transition so easily even just 10 years ago.

Now as we all look to the uncertain future there is no “business as usual” because business will be different.  Even while we flatten the curve and mercifully minimise the deaths from this virus the economic impact until a vaccine is found will be huge and long lasting, and this is globally, not just restricted to a particular market or country like it may have been in the past.

Eventually there will be a recovery and this industry has an extraordinary opportunity ahead of us that we need to be ready for. The huge number of unemployed will need to be brought back into the workforce and the flexibility of contract or casual hiring in the early stages of recovery will probably predominate over permanent roles while companies cautiously rebuild their businesses.

Navigating all our businesses in an environment we’ve never seen before will be helped by the availability of more data from more sources than we’ve ever had before. The staffing industry is in a unique position to generate meaningful workforce indicators such as hiring rates, number of employees in work and total worked hours all being leading indicators of how the economy is tracking and where it is performing best.

With over 6,500 system users and over 3,000,000 payees processed through our customers all-in-one recruitment, timesheet, payroll and billing FastTrack360 platform each year, we are in a unique position to now help customers and the industry as a whole understand trends in employment across a wide range of industry segments.

In the analysis below we can see that over the last three weeks since COVID-19 took hold in ANZ the number of worked hours started to see a gradual decline. Not unexpectedly, new jobs created took a significant dive in the week ending March 22nd as governments stated to ramp up their concerns and implement restrictions on movement. The next few weeks data will be interesting to help further quantify the extent of the downturn in the contingent workforce.

Total Timesheet Hours by Week

Total New Jobs Created (excludes active ongoing jobs created previously)

We will now make this data available weekly to the industry and is just one example of a number of ways FastTrack will now be enhancing our range of services to help customers not only survive this disruption, but plan to thrive in the years ahead as this region and the rest of the world rebuild.

David Page
CEO, FastTrack

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