Tomorrows Weather lots of Peaks and Troughs


Much like the weather forecast, the global economy is experiencing turbulent times. Where some areas are Hot, others are Cold, some are Unpredictable and for others a little more Stable.

In Melbourne the phrase “4 Seasons in a Day” rings true. Your contingency is to never travel without an umbrella or jacket, or at the very least be prepared with alternate arrangements. So how do organisations cope with a global economy experiencing ‘4 seasons in a Day”?


You might first drag yourself along to #ATC2013. This year the Australian Talent Conference brings Local, National and International speakers together to discuss Agile Talent Management. International Pundits include;

Richard ‘Just Do It’ Lishewski – Global Talent Acquisition Director @ Nike. Nice gig you say, but previously he was the Snr Director of Global Recruiting and Sourcing for the NBA!

Gerry”Akubra” Crispin – Acknowledged as a Global Guru (GG aka Thought Leader) in the field of Staffing

Nationally we have Robin Shreeve – CEO Australian Workforce & Productivity Agency, Mas Bianchi – Group Sourcing Manager Monadelphous, as well as a number of RPO experts in Kimberley Hubble – Hudson, Tara Knobel – Alexander Mann Solutions, and Paula Buskus – Harrier.

Thats just for starters.

So why am I blogging? What are my thoughts on this topic?

For me, it’s all quite appropriate and even more timely unlike last weeks showers in Perth. I work for a construction contractor in Australia who like the majority of others within the Resources (by Resources I refer to Mining, Oil & Gas etc) sector are experiencing a sector with Peaks and Troughs. It’s business planning time for 2013 – 2014, and I am having to forecast our resourcing requirements and budget for the upcoming financial year and part of this strategy is to increase our contingent workforce which goes against the current approach my employer takes. I am being asked to do more with less. Some interesting discussions ahead.

My previous and current employer has taken the approach of long-term (permanent or project max term) engagement for the majority of hires. Only a small portion of contingent workforce exists in a sector dictated to by global economics. Compare this to the IT sector where what I see as majority contingent workforce in what is essentially a less volatile environment. Rarely do you hear of mass redundancies unless there is an organisational change in relation to off-shoring.

What impacts Construction Contractors? Delays in Government approvals, Mineral Price, Decline in Global Economies, Client Budget/Profit/Raising troubles, Transitional Governments, Productivity and Labour Market issues, Government Infrastructure Investment, and the list goes on.

My observations through my own experiences as follows:

  • Organisations with large permanent workforce’s usually have large support services. OVERHEADS
  • Employers with larger permanent workforce’s spend far more on agency fees in relation to permanent hire fees.
  • Redundancy rumoring creates a drop in morale, productivity for extended periods of time (Pre & Post regardless of fact or not)
  • Turnover/Churn (Voluntary) rates increase
  • Company brand can be damaged (Inability to attract talent)
  • If listed, company share price may be impacted
  • Permanent workforce’s can become complacent and not as productive (perception of job security through permanency, extended notice periods etc)
  • A good contractor performs better as this is their livelihood. Perform poorly and you soon get a name in your industry and are no longer able to secure work
  • A contractor provides a diverse range of experiences and skills gained from working in numerous organisations, and industries, imparting knowledge to your business
  • A well-balanced business uses core teams of permanent employees supplemented by contractors to deliver projects, injecting new experience, maintaining productivity, ensuring quality, whilst maintaining culture and brand
  • An ability to demonstrate to clients your experience in rapid deployment and downsizing whilst maintaining deliverables can secure you more work

There are many more examples I could list but you get the drift or should I say disturbance in keeping with our weather topic.

So how will a larger contingent workforce be of benefit to an employer?

I guess that comes down to a number of factors and approaches.

  • Do you consider Outsourcing
  • Take on a Managed Service Provider/Partner
  • Develop a pro-active sourcing solution

You may be able to reduce support service overheads, increase your ability to upsize and downsize to market requirements. Maintain culture and brand, productivity, quality, and safety. Get all this right and maybe, just maybe the supposed ‘seat at the table’ we all talk about, might come to fruition.

All this and more will be discussed at #ATC2013 Agile Talent Management. “So be there or be square”. Horace, Trevor and the Gang would love your participation as will the hundreds of other attendees.

I’m still on my journey towards Agile Talent Management, with so much more to learn.

These are my own experiences and opinions, they do not represent those of my past or current employer with whom I wish to help grow their knowledge and acceptance of the benefits of a larger contingent workforce.

One thought on “Tomorrows Weather lots of Peaks and Troughs

Leave a Reply