Employment Trends – Part-time, Contract & Casual Work

02 May 2017 Megan Swan

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The structure of the Australian workforce is changing rapidly with an increasing demand and need for part-time, contract and casual positions.

Comparing the workforce 40 years ago and now, the amount of part-time employees has increased by 15% and the amount of non-full time roles on SEEK has increased by 12% over 7 years, so employers are starting to embrace the evolving workplace, with more than one third planning to hire more contract and casual works in the next five years.

The obvious benefits of increased casualization in the Australian workforce lies not only with employees themselves as expected, but employers alike. With an increased ability to have work-life balance as a result of contract/part-time work, employees are more likely to commit more fully to employers providing flexibility where others do not. Likewise, employers benefit from gaining access to these candidates that may not be available to their less-flexible competitors.

Employing a contract or casual candidate can also be beneficial for both parties to make sure the role and candidate are a long-term fit. For the employer, they can make sure the appointment is sustainable and ongoing, while the candidate can make sure the organisation and inner culture is the right fit for them.

The increasing popularity of casual, contract and part-time workers allows employers to bring extra resources to specific projects. For example, there has been an increased demand for high-level marketing managers and HR managers performing contract roles for smaller organisations to help with the implementation and improvement of procedures and services.

There are obviously some concerns and challenges that come with increased casualization of the Australian workforce, including an increased need for employers to maximise productivity and loyalty as well as employee engagement which may not be as naturally implemented as in a permanent contract. Employers can work to build non-full time roles into the culture of their workplace by focusing on increased communication, definition of work roles and flexibility, to ensure the increase of non-full time workers is as easy a transition as possible.

The inevitability of increased casualization of the Australian workforce, although bringing many benefits, will not come without its own teething issues. However it is important for employers and employees alike to be flexible, open to communication and embracing the changing needs of both parties.