FY23/24 Q1: Quarterly insights 

a group of coworkers looking at the computer screen
To help you stay ahead of the curve, we’ve distilled an array of insights, reports and thought leadership across the world of work, enabling your organisation to understand the challenges and opportunities ahead. 
Below, we explore the key trends that could influence your workforce strategy in the months ahead.

ChatGPT and other AI integrations

ChatGPT, and Generative AI in general, continues to dominate conversations – and the world of work is no exception. 
Businesses have moved quick to try and realise the benefits that this technology can offer. Organisations are designing and releasing versions of ChatGPT that has been indexed against the company’s own data, which is kept in their own environment so there are no data security leaks and no facts are made up. KPMG is one of the latest, with their version of ChatGPT, KymChat, released internally in March and now being packaged and released to clients so they can tailor it to their business environment and content.  
As talent shortages continue, many companies are looking for ways to streamline their hiring processes and cut administrative costs wherever possible. Automation enables teams to eliminate the elements of ‘busy work’, freeing up professionals to work on the more nuanced elements of talent acquisition, including direct human interaction. 
Integrating ChatGPT in addition to other AI-enabled features as part of an evolving HR tech stack will support talent teams in their efforts to fully digitise the hiring process. 
Recently, we’ve seen the conversation moving beyond the use of AI to enhance the search for skills. A growing number of organisations are exploring how a more sophisticated HR tech stack can offer a hyper-personalised experience to each employee, giving them the flexibility to shape an environment that best suits their needs.

The talent shortage continues

Talent shortages have long been acknowledged and in some industries, continue to worsen. 
Shortages are felt most acutely in technology, with our Hays Salary Guide showing that 2023 will continue to be affected by low talent supplies and high turnover. Certain sectors, including engineering and IT, will feel the effects of the tech talent shortage more acutely. 
But the world of work continues to move forward, and organisations are looking for strategies that will enable them to mitigate these skills gaps, including a growing reliance on the contingent workforce. 
As well as adding to their headcount, many organisations are exploring how to retain the talent they have already engaged. Competitive pay is expected to remain an effective strategy for retention, alongside other financial perks such as performance-based bonuses. 
While it remains the most significant factor, our Salary Guide found that employers need to also consider the other benefits as part of their attraction and retention strategy, including work-life balance, upskilling and personal values.  
There’s also a need to widen the scope of the search, with underrepresented or hidden talent networks offering untapped skills. This pool includes members of the community such as veterans, caregivers, people without traditional degrees and formally incarcerated individuals. 
Incorporating these talent sources into a wider people strategy will require organisations to examine their existing hiring processes.

Employee productivity

Productivity decline is a key topic right now, with the challenges impacting both our economy and individual organisations. 
In Australia, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ national accounts show productivity (GDP per hour worked) fell over the year to March 2023 by 4.6 per cent – the largest recorded decline. This is far from a new trend. The Treasury Round Up showed productivity growth averaged 1.6 per cent over the past 30 years, declining to 1.2 per cent over the past 20 years.
Looking beyond these numbers, there is great variability in productivity across the economy, with some sectors, such as energy and communication for example, experiencing huge technological change and therefore increased productivity growth. Other sectors, predominately service industries, have not experienced this.
Addressing this challenge requires a multi-faceted approach. On one hand, policymakers and governments can deliver productivity growth by addressing education as a critical focus which will enable highly skilled and adaptive workers, investing in infrastructure, promoting innovation, technological adoption and research and fostering entrepreneurship and competition.
On the other hand, organisations can create an environment of productivity-enhancing practices. These can include upskilling existing employees to close skills gaps, utilising contingent workers to supplement your team and creating a great employee experience.

The hybrid work debate continues

The tug-of-war between employers and employees over in-office days is continuing. A poll of ASX100 companies conducted by the Australian Financial Review found staff are now coming into the office two or three days a week on average. Our latest Salary Guide also found that there continues to be an imbalance between employers and employees, with two-thirds of office-based employees set to look for a hybrid role in their next job search and only 33 per cent of employers now saying staff can come in when it works for them.
One thing has become very clear – with hybrid working here to stay, employers have witnessed the repercussions faced by organisations that mandate office returns. In response, a shift away from strict mandates is the new preferred path for many.
Many employers are now considering how to create a work environment that maximises both collaboration and focused individual work by asking the question: What level of collaboration does each task require? Tasks that require extensive collaboration, brainstorming or face-to-face interaction are better suited to office days. So too are those that require immediate feedback. For example, team meetings, brainstorming sessions or problem solving. But those tasks that require extended focus periods like putting together a presentation or writing an article, can be better suited to remote days.

Navigating tomorrow, together

Succeeding amid a more complex world of work will require organisations to continually anticipate, monitor and prepare for tomorrow’s challenges. 
We can help you stay a step ahead. Talk to one of our experienced consultants today

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