41 per cent of employers say their organisation has already returned to growth or rapid growth, according to a survey of employers by recruiting experts Hays.
However, 10 per cent say they are still in the crisis phase while 36 per cent describe their current state as defensive.
The Hays survey – conducted for the recruiter’s new Hays Barometer Report, which launches today – shows that ACT is leading the way, with 67 per cent of employers experiencing ‘growth’ or ‘rapid growth’.
In Western Australia, 48 per cent of employers are experiencing ‘growth’ or ‘rapid growth’, while between 41 and 43 per cent of employers in South Australia, New South Wales and the Northern Territory are also experiencing such conditions.
However, the results suggest that the road out of recovery will be uneven. While ACT leads, Queensland and Victoria lag with 52 and 51 per cent of employers respectively still in the crisis or defensive phases.
Meanwhile, Hays also asked employers what they are prioritising now. For over half (53 per cent), protecting the jobs of staff was deemed most important.
This was followed by supporting the mental health & wellbeing of staff (51 per cent), regular and transparent communication with staff (43 per cent), continued support of remote working (42 per cent) and business agility (31 per cent).
Employers nominated revenue growth (30 per cent), maintaining a positive employment brand (28 per cent), technology investments (20 per cent), improving equality, diversity & inclusion in their organisation (19 per cent) and downsizing (10 per cent) as lesser priorities at this point in time.
Commenting on the survey findings, Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand said they are a good indication of how organisations are faring today in light of COVID-19.
“The results suggest there is light at the end of the tunnel with two in five employers already experiencing growth again and many looking to protect the jobs of staff.
“While there have been many pandemic job losses in organisations large and small, those that can protect jobs are able to shield their staff from unemployment and the resulting financial and mental health & wellbeing hardships. In fact, very early in this crisis employers prioritised the mental health & wellbeing of employees and our survey confirms this remains the second most important priority for them today.”
Possible long-term workplace changes: Flexible working crucial
Looking ahead, the survey also reveals that while it will take time to settle upon a post-COVID-19 ‘normal’, employers are beginning to think about the long-term changes they may make to their workplace. Topping the list is the offering of regular flexible working, which 47 per cent of employers say they will retain long-term.
According to Nick, “While flexible working shouldn’t be considered a cure-all for your attraction, engagement and retention challenges, the success of the shift to remote working in many organisations during the pandemic has removed most of the former objections to the practice.
“As a result, failing to offer some form of flexible working post-pandemic could damage your employer brand and ability to attract and retain top talent.