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4 HR trends Australian businesses can expect in 2024

For much of 2023, many Australian businesses were focused on growing their revenue locally in the Australian market and as a result also grew their workforces onshore by hiring within Australia. At the same time, employee expectations of the workplace environment continued to change, with flexibility among the key benefits that workers desire. In 2024, we predict new trends will emerge that businesses must consider to attract and retain the best talent.

Jonathan Perumal, Country Manager, ANZ at Safeguard Global, shares four predictions for the HR trends Australian businesses can expect to see as they head into the new year.

  1. Overseas hiring driving expansion into new markets

“For much of 2023, many Australian businesses were growing their workforces onshore by hiring within Australia. However, we are increasingly seeing organisations hiring employees based overseas as a means of expanding their business into bigger addressable markets. This is especially true of high-growth industries, such as the technology sector, which is growing by 16 percent per year on average, according to ASIC. Australian companies from technology and defence to healthcare are looking to the United States and Europe in their expansion efforts.

According to Airwallex’s Australian Business Growth Index, more than two thirds of Australian SMEs say they plan to be operational outside of the country by 2027. As remote working possibilities and outsourced employment models grow, so too will opportunities for Australian businesses to expand their operations internationally. Companies that limit their horizon to national shores and fail to embrace the benefits of introducing globally diverse experiences and ideas risk being left behind.”

  1. More investment in training to upskill workers

“Australia’s tight labour market is exacerbating staff shortages for skilled roles, a problem which will persist into 2024 and one that is forcing business leaders to rethink how they utilise their existing workforce. As a result, businesses are likely to increase their investment in staff training and development to strengthen the in-house skills base, through courses covering topics including coding, cyber and project management.

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Training and upskilling opportunities are essential to professional development, which in turn boosts employee morale, encouraging existing workers to stay and attracting talent to your business. Professional development opportunities were ranked among the most important job characteristic by respondents in Safeguard Global’s Global Employee Satisfaction & Benefits Study.

By facilitating access to leadership pathways and technical training programs, businesses can ensure their employees are satisfied with their career prospects and maximise their contribution to the organisation.”

  1. Greater use of AI in hiring and onboarding practices

“It’s only a matter of time before AI becomes cemented in business operations, including in hiring and onboarding processes, a trend we should see come to fruition in 2024. This technology is expected to expand rapidly, with FIS’ Global Innovation Report 2023 finding that half of Australian firms are already using generative AI, with 71 percent planning to grow their investment in this area next year

AI can streamline HR processes, mitigate bias, and improve decision-making through better analysis. For example, AI can be used to assess current roles and quickly generate job specifications based on best practice. In addition, as AI continues to replace repetitive and functional tasks, employees will have more time to focus on creative, strategic, and meaningful work and we will see a shift in the types of roles businesses hire for.”

  1. Increasing demand for remote leadership positions

“Traditionally, companies have hired remote workers to fill executional roles like coding and programming, but we are seeing an increase in remote positions opening at the executive level, a trend we predict will continue. When Australia opened again after the COVID lockdowns, a considerable number of people repatriated to their home countries or moved abroad, requiring companies to shift their policies and expectations for employees to remain in Australia – we have well and truly entered the new world of work without borders.

Hiring globally for leadership roles creates an opportunity for businesses to draw from a wider talent pool with more diverse experience, which can be used to foster homegrown teams into future leadership positions.”

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