As the Australian labour market prepares for a predicted slowdown in 2024, key questions arise about its impact on the future of work, particularly the widespread adoption of work-from-home (WFH) practices. SEEK, a leading employment platform, recently hosted a roundtable discussion with industry experts to explore these crucial issues.
Soft Landing or Bumpy Ride?
Matt Cowgill, SEEK Senior Economist, outlines the economic landscape, anticipating a “soft landing” for the Australian market but acknowledging a potential rise in unemployment due to interest rate hikes. This shift in power dynamics between employers and employees could influence employment trends, including WFH arrangements.
WFH: Here to Stay or Collateral Damage?
Despite concerns, SEEK data paints a different picture. Contrary to predictions of WFH being abandoned in a tightening market, SEEK’s job ad data reveals that 10% of advertised roles still offer some form of flexible work, showcasing its continued relevance. Kendra Banks, SEEK Managing Director ANZ, reinforces this observation, indicating that “two years on from Australia’s last lockdown, one in ten job ads on SEEK include flexibility options.”
Beyond WFH: Key Trends Shaping the Future of Work
The roundtable delved into other critical trends shaping the workplace landscape in 2024:
- Data and Privacy: Kendra Banks highlights the evolving landscape of big tech, data privacy, and security as a critical focus for organizations. As third-party data becomes less reliable, robust customer insights will be crucial for differentiation.
- AI-Driven Recruitment: SEEK’s AI innovations, such as promoting top applicants and profile-based job matches, are enhancing the job-seeking experience for both candidates and employers.
- Skills Passports: Kadi Taylor, SEEK Head of Government Relations and Economics, emphasizes the importance of skills passports in fostering a dynamic labour market. Government and private sector collaboration is crucial for establishing standards and frameworks for micro-credentials and other non-traditional qualifications.
- Redefining Career Development: Kathleen McCudden, SEEK Chief People & Culture Officer, highlights the shift in how employees view career progression. While upward mobility remains important, on-the-job skill development, autonomy, and work-life balance are increasingly driving professional choices.
A Complex Landscape for Employment
The experts’ perspectives reveal a complex and multifaceted picture for the Australian labour market in 2024. While external forces like economic fluctuations and technological advancements hold the potential to significantly impact workplace practices, trends like the continued demand for WFH and evolving career aspirations point towards a dynamic and evolving landscape. As these forces play out, the way we work, recruit, and develop our careers will undoubtedly continue to shift and adapt.