June — Cold weather, EOFY and “The Gift”

June in Melbourne is signified by colder weather, shorter days and the last month of the financial year. The shift in climate has been offset by a more stable job market, in relative terms, with hiring conditions and candidate expectations becoming more entrenched.

Despite low growth in the March quarter of just 0.1%, economists remain divided over the prospect of a recession. This is largely due to the unemployment rate, which crept above 4% in April, still at historically low levels. Low levels of unemployment are keeping upward pressure on wage growth, remaining at a healthy 4.1%.

On wages, the US prohibition on new non-compete clauses has encouraged the Labor government to consider a blanket ban. With any changes expected to have flow on effects to job mobility and salaries.

Hiring across accounting & finance (Atlas Partners key vertical) remains solid, with much of the focus shifting to interim needs to support year-end activities. Contracting remains a popular approach as many businesses experience head count restrictions.

Some of the more interesting developments have come from employers challenging the traditional “ways we work”. Atlas Partners recently hosted a HR leaders roundtable discussion on the Medibank four-day work week experiment. The insurer has seen 250 employees take part in a 100:80:100 trial, whereby employees maintain 100% of their pay, reduce their working hours to 80%, while maintaining 100% productivity. 

Referred to as “The Gift” internally, the trial has been received warmly by those participating and is expected to be expanded to a larger cohort. Macquarie University have been taking fortnightly surveys with participants, with the data suggesting some promising impacts to health and wellbeing. “The Gift” is all part of Medibank’s vision to be the healthiest workplace in Australia.

If you’d like more information on the trial, it’s findings or just a check in on the market, please get in touch with me or anyone of the team at Atlas.