After falling in the early part of the 21st century, the number of casual workers in Australia has risen once again in recent years. Government statistics from 2018 showed that casual workers now make up over one-quarter of the total Australian workforce, up from 24.3% in 2010. While this is lower than the 2000 level of 25.2%, it still represents a significant aggregate increase over the last 30 years, growing from only 21.5% in 1992.
Queensland led the way, with 29.2% of the state's workforce categorised as casual employees. Meanwhile, South Australia was second with 27.6%, while New South Wales, Victoria, Northern Territory and Tasmania and the ACT found themselves below the national average. In South Australia and Tasmania, casual employee numbers had reduced since 2010.
There are many factors that have contributed to this situation. The diversification of Australia's economy — and a gradual movement away from the primary and secondary industry in favour of tertiary or even quaternary industries — has led to a more dynamic workforce. Casual employees are simply in higher demand in fields such as hospitality and social assistance than they are in mining or manufacturing — the traditional backbone of the Australian economy.
Other factors include increased needs for flexibility and agility among employers, as well as increased participation of women in the workforce. Around 47% of the Australian workforce is now comprised of women, which leads to an increased need for flexible working hours in instances where both parents of a family are employed.
But this does not quite tell the whole story. Australian Parliament House has also suggested that the recession of the early 1990s led employers to become more cautious when hiring members of staff, preferring the low-risk strategy of hiring personnel on a casual basis. While this hiring model has led to more numerous opportunities for Australians seeking employment — and may suit workers in search of more flexible terms — large sections of the workforce are left at risk. These casual workers represent an important driving force for Australia's economy, and their rights must be upheld.
A Digital Approach to Scheduling
Alloc8 provides a digital solution to make dynamic management of personnel easier and more straightforward for employees. Increased reliance on casual workers leads to more complex scheduling procedures for employers, who may find themselves needing to juggle large numbers of the personnel deployed across asymmetric shift patterns. This may be a high resource- and time-intensive process — a burden that not all business owners will be able to bear.
Using this platform, employers reduce the time spent on scheduling by up to 50%. What's more, this is achieved with more accuracy and precision, thanks to data-rich employee profiles that make matching the right candidate to the right role easy.
Automation for Efficiency
This digital approach is supported with powerful automation that further enhances efficiency. Repetitive, arbitrary scheduling tasks are handled with deftness by Alloc8's automated protocols, removing the risk of human error and leaving HR teams free to focus their attention on more meaningful tasks.
Automation for Compliance
The Fair Work Act of 2009 provides a framework designed to support safe and fair conditions for the entire Australian workforce. This has been amended a number of times over the last decade and a half, most recently in March of 2021, when changes were made to the casual employment sections of the act.
Basically, employers have certain responsibilities when it comes to casual employees, and these must be adhered to if the business is to remain legally compliant. One of the most recent changes is the mandatory provision of a Casual Employment Information Statement, or CEIS, to all personnel in this category.
Via automated prompts and a data-driven approach to human resource management, Alloc8 helps to ensure that businesses are meeting all the requirements expected of them. At the same time, the legally protected rights of casual workers throughout the country are upheld.
A Better Deal for All with Alloc8 — Navigating a More Diverse Working Landscape
The increase of casual workers in the Australian employment landscape certainly brings with it opportunities. Both employers and employees can benefit from increased flexibility, while personnel enjoy working hours that suit them. However, the right digital solutions are required if this is to be a viable model moving forward — solutions such as Alloc8, which are helping to achieve a fair and advantageous situation for all parties.