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Executive Summary

April 2021

Executive opportunities dip as the JobKeeper subsidy subsides.

"Working from home" is a fantasy that must cease as productivity falls to new lows. 

New jobs for Australian executives dipped in March as the market consolidated after reaching pre-COVID-19 levels, according to E.L. Consult's executive demand research. Demand fell 7 per cent in March after three consecutive months of gains. Mr Grant Montgomery, Managing Director of E.L Consult, a leading human resources company that researches and publishes the E.L. Executive Demand Index, said: "There has been a dip in employment as JobKeeper disappeared. "JobKeeper does not directly affect the employment cost of executives but its recent cancellation has forced managers to look at their employment costs generally, and executive payrolls are no exception. A freeze on all new hires generally is a typical response when the revenue model changes and that covers all levels. "With this hiatus in the employment market a 7 per cent reduction in executive hiring is, relatively speaking, is a good result. "The only area that showed any life in March was Finance; further evidence there is a lot of number crunching going on. Working from home needs to end. Mr Montgomery went on to say that as the extraordinary conditions set up to deal with Covid subside so does the thinking behind working from home. "Staying at home, which primarily applied to executive roles, made a lot of sense but as the threat of cross infection reduces this needs to be rethought. "Productivity, while initially rising due to the novelty of working from home has now fallen back considerably. If the economy is to recover the whole idea needs to be reset. "Unfortunately, the managers that need to reset it are currently enjoying working from home too much." Mr Montgomery said "As anyone will tell you, trying to deal with a big company or institution, or government department has now become slow and difficult and if a response is required outside the typical 'frequently asked questions' algorithm forget it. "People work best in a collegiate environment where ideas a generated and tested in casual conversation between team members in a way that simply cannot happen in isolation or a formalised video link. "There are so many times that a client needs to know they are dealing with the company and not someone thinking by themselves alone at home. "Of course, there are some benefits to the home model, such as lower transportation time and potentially reduced costs from lower office rent and services and it would be idiotic to go back to the old system without trying to design something better. "For example, a hybrid model of staggered working hours with positions starting and ending at different times could work. This would solve travel congestion and provided there was still a core 5 hours during the day when everyone is in the same place at the same time retain the productivity, education and innovation benefits of working as a single minded team. "Unfortunately, a plan like this would need some strong collegiate team decision making and that simply cannot happen when managers are isolated in their private homes. "It is no surprise that a poll of government workers in NSW voted in favour to stay working from home. Non-customer facing government departments have never had a close relationship with productivity and are unlikely to see the overall economic problems home working causes. "But many businesses are now realising that there is a lot of negatives in working from home. Their executive teams are missing out on teamwork, collegial discussions and problem solving, the training of new people and the strategic component of decision making. "Australian executives need to return to work - the economy needs them!" Said Mr Montgomery Among the sectors, Finance was the best performer, assisted again by increased private sector positions. Engineering and Management were largely flat, while Information Technology and Marketing lost ground. The losses were centred in the larger states. New South Wales and Victoria fell back after recording good increases over the prior quarter. Western Australia continues to benefit from the increase in iron ore prices, with its demand up 6 per cent in total as Engineering and Management positions continued to be positive.

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