Thursday, April 14, 2011

The state of the workforce

Last week, I met with one of the Big 4 banks to discuss recruitment issues. This bank's biggest challenge is finding quality candidates for a huge number of roles they have across the country - in particular regional areas. Some of these roles include branch manager roles that come with a six figure salary. And they are willing to consider job share.

Basically, their current candidate sourcing channels are not working - hence our discussion. They are looking for alternative channels to tap into people like you. This is one of many business examples that demonstrate that there is a shortage of quality candidates.

What does this mean for you? Better opportunities to negotiate flexibility and the opportunity to find better quality flexible roles that reflect your qualifications and expertise.

The cost of childcare and going back to work

I have noticed that a common view held by mums is that if your salary does not cover the cost of childcare, it is not worth going back to work. I think this view needs to be challenged for the following reasons:

1. Your experience and desire to work should not be ignored or compromised. You have invested in your education and have built up a strong career. You should not be made to feel like you have to sacrifice your career. The longer you stay out of the workplace, the more challenging it is to return. Childcare is required for a finite period of time (at the most, 4 years). You can access a 50% childcare rebate (not means tested). You may also be able to tap into your extended family to assist your family with caring duties.

2. The cost of childcare should not be associated with your salary only. View it as an expense that needs to be covered by your combined salary (you AND your partner's salary). This expense is necessary to mantain your skills and support your future earning capacity.

I have no doubt that the cost of care is a huge problem for families. The Federal Government offers a 50% childcare rebate but they have no long term solutions for the rising cost of childcare. This is because most childcare centres are privately owned. This in turn impacts on the skills shortage in this country - the cost of care is forcing many people to stay at home rather than work.

If you can make it work as a family, and you want to return to paid work, I would encourage you to do it. I have met and spoken to too many women who have opted to leave the workforce for a longer period of time and have subsequently lost their confidence to return to paid employment.