Monthly Archives: February 2020

Driving into the line of (ex) fires

We’re going direct! Inspired by initiatives such as Empty Esky and Beers for Bushfire Relief, Slade Group’s bushfire response is to help the businesses and people directly hit by the loss of property and commerce. We’ve made available our two company cars on the weekends so our people can do a road trip with their friends or family and visit a fire affected area throughout 2020. Slade foots the bill for a night’s accommodation and a tank of petrol filled up in the region visited. While we’re spending our hard-earned, we’ll be helping hard-hit businesses recoup some much needed tourist dollars.

We’ve put up a huge map of Bushfire Affected Areas in the office and we’re posting photos of everyone’s trips – in hard copy and on our social media.

Here’s a story fresh from the Grampians, when Debbie Patsiolis hit the road last weekend.

My trip to the Grampians

To get the #SladeBushfireResponse program started, I booked a trip to the Grampians, took the Slade car, and set-off with my boyfriend Jon in tow last weekend.

The first thing we noticed were all the government bushfire warnings on the highway… Are you ready for fire? It really made us think about how different life is for communities who are on high alert for bushfires. Growing up 20 minutes out of the city and living in inner Melbourne for my whole life, it’s hard for me to imagine my family in a situation where we’d even have to think about leaving our home.

We arrived in Halls Gap late afternoon on Saturday to wet weather (no complaints, the rain is much needed). Heading into town, we stopped at the general store to get breakfast supplies and some snacks. We ordered take away fish and chips from the local, which we enjoyed in our cute little cottage for the night, surrounded by kangaroos and emus.

Sunday morning we visited the Grampians National Park and went for a hike to the beautiful Mackenzie Falls and Fish Falls. While there were a few burnt trees, the park was still beautiful, with lots of greenery. It was nice to see so many people out hiking enjoying nature, and a lot of people too, especially as lunch time approached.

On the way back we stopped in town again and bought pies from the local bakery. Then the most Australian thing happened to Jon – a kookaburra swooped as he was taking a bite and stole a chunk of his pie! Ditching the pie, Jon opted for a less kookaburra-enticing sausage roll. We finished with delicious locally made ice cream from the ice creamery in Halls Gap, filled up the car and made our way home.

On the way back we stopped at Beaufort in the Pyrenees. Whilst most things were closed (being Sunday in a country town), the antique store was open. A vase and a chair later, and a few dollars lighter, we continued our journey home. Given the vast loss of income these local businesses suffered in December and January, we were happy to contribute to help the locals get back on their feet.

Now I’m looking forward to hearing about everyone’s adventures over the coming months.

Do you have a good news story to share? We’d love to hear about what your or your workplace is doing to support bushfire affected regions.

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Posted in The world @work

RCSA CEO is right on the money

The following article was originally published on Shortlist, 30 January 2020 and I’m in total agreement with Charles Cameron. Australian employers don’t know how good they’ve got it when compared with other Western countries. It’s time our industry stood up to be counted.

Time to push back on bad business terms: RCSA

A rising number of recruitment companies are pushing back against ‘bad business’, but the issue requires a stronger response, says RCSA CEO Charles Cameron.

“We’re even seeing the larger players – the Manpowers, the Adeccos – making decisions to get out of certain markets and have greater confidence not to supply just for the sake of top-line revenue,” he tells Shortlist.

This should apply with PSAs and large-scale contracts, or indeed any arrangements with clients where recruiters take on a disproportionate amount of risk and costs, or the margins “are so razor thin that there is no room for any form of error or significant event”.

In the ACT, for example, some government employers are trying to push the cost of candidates’ security clearances – which can be upwards of $10,000 – on to recruitment suppliers, Cameron says.

Many Australian agencies have historically agreed to business terms and conditions they shouldn’t really allow, he says, and in his travels to the UK, Europe and the United Sates, Cameron finds industry leaders are “horrified” by what their local counterparts accept.

Recruiters shouldn’t fear saying no, he adds, because “in many circumstances those clients will actually come back to them and say ‘all right, we will do the business on your terms’, because they can’t find alternative suppliers who can actually find the talent”.

RCSA is planning a campaign to encourage more recruiters to reject commercially unviable business, he adds. “We need to give confidence to each and every firm to be able to say no.”

What makes a ‘good’ client?

The profile of a good client, says Cameron, includes a willingness to engage suppliers with clarity and transparency – by setting clear business objectives and budgets at the onset of the relationship.

It also means working with clear and consistent performance expectations and evaluations, along with transparency and accountability around legal issues and risks…

This excerpt is reproduced with permission from Shortlist, and the full article has been temporarily unlocked for access without a subscription.

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A lot to think about beyond 2020

February already and we’re fully back into the swing of work, with the Australia Day long weekend gone and kids back to school.

Companies and employees everywhere are returning to significant challenges to the Australian economy and their industries within it, especially retail, agriculture, and tourism amongst others. My industry focus, superannuation and wealth management, has been experiencing the pain of change for some time now, and there is a high level of executive movement as the ‘war for talent’ heats up further.

This is great if you’re an executive or specialist in demand, but there’s some awful, somewhat hidden or understated, numbers for many Australians.

According to a recent article by Jack Derwin in Business Insider, there are now three unemployed Australians for every job vacancy. Based on this fact we know that the 250,000 or so job ads listed every month just don’t match up with the 725,000 Australians without jobs who want them, and the 1.15 million under-employed Australians who are working less hours than they’d like.

Reading this, I wondered whether the majority of us currently in professional employment are even aware of these numbers… three unemployed people for every single listed vacancy!

Yes, many vacancies aren’t listed, but typically they will be filled by ‘people who know people’ as they are already employed and referred through trusted conduits.

The other big associated issue is underemployment, and when combined with the unemployed, means nearly 2 million Australians cannot find as much work as they want or need.

Let’s keep this in mind before we start labelling people as ‘lifters or leaners’ or with other simplistic clichés.

Further, in an ABC Business Report published recently, Oxfam concludes, “Australia’s concentration of wealth in the hands of the super-rich is occurring, while the share of wealth of the bottom half of our community has decreased over the last decade and workers’ wages continue to stagnate.”

“The top 1 per cent of Australians have more than doubled the wealth of the entire bottom 50 per cent – or 12.5 million people.”

Read that again. It warrants an expletive or two when you think that 240,000 of our ‘mates’ hold 100x the individual wealth held by half of all Australians.

How have we, as a society, let it come to this (and seemingly, it’s getting worse)? 

Economic liberalisation has raised millions of people around the world out of abject poverty, and certainly Australia benefitted from deregulation and the encouragement of the private sector, from what was a troubled economy in the 1970s and 80s. But have we gone too far, and is the idea of a ‘fair go’ in Australia and looking after your ‘mates’ just a slogan?

This country has shown with the recent bushfires and current drought that we still believe in pitching in to help others. It seems however, with death by a thousand cuts over 30 years, that we have become numb to the unemployed, immune to the increasing homeless on the street, and resigned to the gargantuan wealth and therefore political influence of ‘the few’.

Ok, easy for me to criticise, but what do we do? 

I don’t have the answers but I don’t believe Australia (and the world) can continue down this path of the few haves and many have-nots, with a large middle ground too busy to care because they’re just getting by. The workforce is changing and unless we come up with new ideas and products, the wealth disparity will continue to grow. Add in climate change, whether exacerbated by humans or not, the year, decade and century ahead will deliver some tremendous challenges for many Australians.

There’s a lot to think about in 2020 and beyond.

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Posted in Accounting & Finance, Superannuation, The world @work