A shift is taking place in Australia. From an ageing population to a hyperconnected society, we’re perhaps witnessing the most significant changes to Australia’s workforce since the rise of globalisation. The rapid development is seeing our workforce diversify in a way that no longer meets traditional models, making way for the development of new models and ways of working that defy 9 to 5 traditions. As with any environment or economy, things naturally evolve, so why now? What exactly is stimulating such a drastic transformation in the workforce as we know it?

We’ve identified two key influences: the ageing population and the role of technology.

The ageing population
Australian’s are living longer and retiring much later. Today, the average life expectancy of an Australian is 82.5 years. By 2047, it is anticipated this will rise to 89 years. Due to the advancements in medical care, nutrition and overall quality of life, many older Australians experience good health – freeing them from any severe limitations in living their daily lives. The idea of retirement itself has changed, as mature workers realise they need to keep working to afford to live or are just not ready to make the move. Many opt to work well past the typical retirement age and choose more flexible part-time or freelancing roles

Currently, the median age of Australia’s workforce is 40 years old, meaning that our workforce is already on the more mature side. The ageing of these workers in the coming decades is going to contribute to the overall pressure on organisations and workforce models, with the number of workers seeking flexible arrangements set to boom.

These changes are already redefining the traditional career pathway as we see part-time, casual and freelancing roles increase significantly and thus fueling the diversification of the gig economy.

Role of technology
It’s not just our ageing population who are seeking flexibility and control over their work conditions. According to Accenture, 67% of workers want to pursue freelance or self-employment opportunities that give them autonomy over their career. The ability to do this has been greatly influenced by technology that supports remote, mobile-based work. From the likes of Uber to Airbnb, the development of technology platforms has seen the rise and boom of the gig economy. The gig economy gives workers the chance to find temporary or recurring work in almost any field or industry. It breaks away from the more traditional systems where an employee works full-time for only one employer; instead, the individual has full control over their career path, often basing it upon flexibility, freedom and personal fulfilment.

But it’s not just workers who are benefiting from the gig economy. The shift to digital, contract-based working has the potential to increase staffing efficiency and cost reduction for businesses. More increasingly, organisations are utilising casuals, freelancers or contractors as a strategy to manage fluctuations in work demand. During peak times, organisations can expand their workforce without incurring the ongoing costs of a full-time employment contract. While the financial benefits are significant, the diversity this brings into the working environment also contributes to the organisation’s ability to remain agile in an ever-changing economy.

It also presents another opportunity for the further development and adaptation of HR systems and software. Understandably, traditional HR structures are not built to source and manage this external and continuously changing workforce. This has fed further technological development, as businesses like ShiftMatch, bridge the technological gap between the gig workers and organisations – providing support in the management and efficient integration of the two models.

The new multi-channel workforce
Out of these two key influencers a new workforce model was born and is shaping up to become the new face of Australia’s workforce – the multi-channel workforce. Put simply; it’s a workforce that extends beyond the employer’s permanent employees, to include contingent workers, freelancers and contractors. It’s a powerful combination in which holds the ability to enhance the capabilities of the organisation as a whole. Not only does a multi-channel workforce invite diversity in, but it’s also a robust talent acquisition strategy, and the ability to lower expenditure answers to the overarching objective of every organisation. Do more with less, right?

The multi-channel workforce is reshaping employment as we know it. It allows hiring managers to seek out talent where needed and gives the best talent leverage to negotiate work arrangements that suit their life needs. A trend that is set to continue on its upward trajectory.

ShiftMatch provides an automated staff booking solution. Our sophisticated software instantly matches staff to every shift vacancy, so you don’t have to. Contact us here for more information.