Businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in Northern Tasmania have told of how they’re bouncing back and boosting their workforces.
The River Cafe at Beauty Point closed its doors for seven weeks during the height of Tasmania’s COVID-19 crisis. Business owner Richard Bowler is now on the hunt for two more staff members because conditions are improving.
“We’re currently only doing four days a week and we’re looking to go to seven days a week,” Mr Bowler said.
“We’re approaching it in a very cautious manner, but we’re very pleased with the way the business is going at the moment.
“We’re not operating all the hours we used to operate, the period when we were closed had a significant impact on our cashflow.”
Innerspace Wardrobes owner Ken Saville says he’s got jobs booked in until the end of October and is recruiting a factory manager.
“There is a lot of confidence in the place, a lot of people that were spending on holidays and things like that have decided to renovate,” Mr Saville said.
“We’ve got 21 staff now and when we started we had three full-time staff in Launceston and one in Hobart.”
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With jobless numbers rising because of the pandemic, Mr Saville says it’s surprising only seven people sent applications in for the factory manager role.
“I would have thought there would have been a reasonable amount of people out there who wanted the job,” he said.
The recruitment experience Mr Saville is going through differs greatly from the one Darron Crocker is having.
Mr Crocker is the people and culture manager at disability service provider the Eskleigh Foundation and he says job seekers have been lining up in great numbers to join the organisation.
A disability support worker role Mr Crocker advertised for at Perth attracted 167 applicants.
“We’ve also been advertising in Devonport and we’ve had 90 applicants for our disability support worker role there,” he said.
“While we’re a service sector, anyone who has been in tourism has been applying, they’re actively trying to transition across from sectors that have been very heavily impacted by COVID-19.
“We’ve also had people that we’ve recruited for our technical roles who say they now see the disability sector as a safe sector for jobs compared to others where there is more uncertainty and volatility.”
StGiles chief executive Andrew Billing said his organisation was managing well with its current workforce.
“Similar to the aged care sector, the disability sector is very alert to the fact we have sufficient workforce in normal circumstances but in an outbreak situation we could be put under pressure very quickly,” Mr Billing said.
“Every time gets a sniffle or an ache or a pain we’re asking people not to come to work sick.
“At a broader level we would be looking to expand workforce availability, that can be through more casuals and it can also be through creating more surety for workers by moving them from casual to permanent part-time and even full-time scenarios.”
Mr Billing said while working as a casual suited some workers in the disability sector, benefits could be gained from making the sector’s workforce more secure.
“The more casual workforce you have the greater workforce management challenges you have, the greater risk you have in terms of not having workforce available when you need it and also the greater risk you have of people turning up to work when they probably shouldn’t because they don’t have ways of continuing to live without their pay,” he said.