Shortlist's most-read stories, in brief

Labour hire

The most-read stories on Shortlist over the past week have covered: WorkPac's 'double-dipping' claim loss; Harrier's leadership change; Talent's MD appointment; Shortlist's latest podcast; and more.

The full articles summarised below are accessible with a subscription or free trial of Shortlist.

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Now is a time to strengthen recruitment businesses for the future rather than pursue "ego led" revenue gains, requiring a different and potentially uncomfortable management style, says U&U managing director Craig Sneesby.

"The businesses best positioned for the future are the ones that truly understand how to manage cash flow, and retain profits," as opposed to just making and distributing money, he says.

Sneesby discusses this and more in Shortlist's latest interview podcast.

Listen to more Shortlist interview podcasts here.

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Another WorkPac employee who was engaged and paid as a casual has been awarded permanent entitlements, in a case that will likely have some "perverse" outcomes and prompt a rise in class actions.

The employee was on-hired by WorkPac from July 2014 until his retirement in April 2019, at several mines operated by Glencore Australia.

In October 2018, in the wake of the WorkPac v Skene ruling, he wrote to WorkPac claiming he was not a casual employee. He sought outstanding entitlements to paid annual leave, paid personal/carer's leave and paid compassionate leave, plus public holiday pay entitlements due under the Fair Work Act and WorkPac's enterprise agreement for coal mining workers.

In response, WorkPac applied to the Federal Court for declarations that the worker was a casual employee by common law and under sections 86, 95 and 106 of the FW Act, and that he was a 'casual field team member', not a 'permanent field team member', under its EA.

This week, a Federal Court full bench ruled not to make the orders sought, finding the employee was not a casual under either instrument.

For full coverage of the case see: WorkPac loses another 'double-dipping' claim; "Perverse" ramifications expected

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Harrier Group has promoted executive GM Zain Wadee to acting CEO, replacing Kelly Quirk, who has held the top role since 2012.

Wadee joined Harrier Talent Solutions in August last year, leading strategy and operations for RPO clients and talent consulting engagements.

Meanwhile Talent has appointed the former CEO of Adcorp Holdings Australia, Dennis Grant, to be managing director of its professional IT services offering, Avec.

Now based in Melbourne, Grant has more than 20 years' global experience in professional services and project delivery.

Talent founder and executive chair Richard Earl says the appointment coincides with a strategic refresh of the brand, to reflect the changing market, and that "Avec will become an even more integral part of Talent's global offering".

See more industry appointments, departures and promotions.

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The vast majority of employers are moving ahead with their graduate programs for 2021 rather than risk missing out on top talent, a specialist says.

GradConnection's data indicates that less than 2–3% of employers have cancelled their recruitment programs for next year's intake despite COVID-19's impact. Some are reducing their volumes but nobody is "slashing their numbers", and about 15% are actually hiring more grads, says client services director James Wright.

Read more: Graduate programs tweaked but are full speed ahead

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Recruitment leaders are hoping to see work volumes return to about 60–70% of their pre-crisis levels in July, and some are tentatively eyeing new hires for that time, say rec-to-recs.

Provided COVID-19 cases stay low, July is when recruiters are pinning their hopes on sustainable upturn signs, says Greenbridge Recruitment MD Adrian Carty.

And many agency leaders are preparing to pounce for new talent for that period, says McCall Norris director Lisa Norris.

"If they can get them now and get them to sign a contract for a July start, they'll grab them before the competition," she says.

Mint Recruitment director Pete Watson adds sentiment remains low, but he expects it to pick up as recruitment businesses start to return their workforces to the office in a staggered fashion.

Companies with upwards of 25 consultants "are the ones that have been affected most" by the crisis, Carty says, and these were most likely to lay off their relatively junior or rookie consultants.

And staff who have retained their jobs in businesses where redundancies and stand-downs have occurred have seen their pay reduced anywhere from 20–40%, says Watson.

Read more: Recruiters eye July for real signs of market recovery

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New job ads on Seek were up 26.8% during the fortnight ended 17 May, compared to the very low April 2020 average, according to the job board's latest employment snapshot.

Seek ANZ managing director Kendra Banks is hopeful April volumes represent the low point for job numbers, with the job board now using that month's data as a baseline to compare "how the employment market is progressing".

Still, these figures are "a long way shy of the pre-COVID volumes", and she notes a long road ahead.

Read more: Seek ads up, but "long road ahead"

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In light of Seek's new baseline (above) and other references to improvements since April, industry analyst Bob Olivier is urging recruiters to interpret the figures with caution.

Ad volumes might now appear 20% higher, but in an index that is half the volume it used to be, they are still 40% lower than a year ago, he notes, and it's too early to say the market has turned.

Read more: View ad figures with caution: Olivier

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