Home' micenet eMag : micenet AUSTRALIA August September 2014 Contents The downturn experienced in late 2008 and into 2009
during the global financial crisis was felt hardest in
permanent recruitment activity and to a lesser extent in
temporary and contract employment, with most businesses
putting staff recruitment on hold and many needing to downsize
staff numbers in response to a decrease in business activity and
The recovery since then (over almost six years to date) has
been slow and uneven and, in fact, while there was an
upswing in recruitment activity within a short time (about nine
months) after the GFC hit, the market recovery since then has
been characterised by peaks and troughs as market
conditions have improved, but where a degree of caution
remains. Having said that, we are in a far better place now
than we were back in 2009.
Over the past five to six years recruitment activity has been
strongest for contract and temporary staff and this has been to
some extent at the expense of permanent recruitment activity.
This is because employers have been uncertain about the
sustainability of the market recovery over the longer term and
many are also still mindful of the conditions they faced back in
2009 when things were at their worst.
As a result, some jobs in the events industry are almost
exclusively offered on a contract basis now; for example,
technical event production roles. Pre-GFC this was the case but
many agency operations back then were quite prepared to
commit to offering these candidates a permanent job because
the view was that the work will always be there. However, in the
current climate, once projects are delivered and if there is no
new client work available, contractors are let go until further
work presents in the future. Notwithstanding, currently most
freelance event producers do find they can be gainfully
employed for most of the year as they move from one event
project to another.
The corporate and aligned sectors that have their own
in-house event teams have traditionally committed to permanent
staff and this is still very much the case although a fair proportion
of these businesses are working with a smaller core team and
supplementing that team with temporary staff as needed.
The impact of all of this on permanent event staff salaries has
meant that any upward pressure has been subdued, although in
recent years has strengthened. Of course, at the height of the
GFC salaries did fall across the board as staff supply in the
market increased through redundancies and a lack of permanent
opportunities generally. As we have recovered from this low
point we have seen salaries increasing but we have really been
playing catch up to pre-GFC levels. Apart from the government
sector which tends to be insulated from salary falls, we have
now seen the bulk of the market return to pre-GFC salary levels.
As a result, the government sector (along with the multinational
corporates) would now be better payers in the market despite
changes in governments at both state and federal level and cost
cutting agendas being implemented. (For those at a business or
staff management level and seeking more information on event
staff salaries, please contact Event Recruitment to receive our
annual survey of the market).
So, where to from here? Well, I think market conditions will
continue to improve as we see the global economy pick up,
which it clearly has in the last 6-12 months, and as Australia
moves successfully from a mining-led economy to an
infrastructure and consumer-led one and confidence further
improves. Hopefully that will iron out the “roller coaster”
employment market we have experienced in recent years as
market confidence and businesses bottom lines improve. m
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With a new financial year underway John Hackett assesses the
current state of the employment market across the events sector
and recaps on the market over the last few years.
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