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Research into Coronavirus impact shows almost 70% of Australian casual workers suffering financially

Research into Coronavirus impact shows almost 70% of Australian casual workers suffering financially
May 28, 2020

A newly released survey has revealed the extent of the impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s casual workforce, which, proportionally, is one of the largest in the world, with almost 70% of casual workers reporting they are suffering financially.

The Humanforce survey shows that the casual workforces has been hard-hit by COVID-19 restrictions, with the financial hardship experienced by casual workers resulting from many employers having shut-down or reduced staff and hours as a result of COVID-19, according to 70% of casual workers surveyed. 

Commenting on the findings, Bruce Mackenzie, Managing Director and founder of Humanforce, explains “COVID-19 has seen a number of Australian businesses that typically employ high numbers of casual workers, especially in the hospitality, retail and event sectors, having to drastically scale back their operations or close entirely due to social distancing restrictions.

“There have been many implications for Australia’s large pool of casual workers who have suddenly lost their jobs entirely or have had their shifts reduced dramatically, with the most pressing issue of all being the major financial hardships they are currently facing.”

Australia’s workforce is made up of 25% of casual workers, which is one of the highest rates among the OECD’s 14 member countries, according to its 2019 Employment Outlook. 

Mackenzie noted “so many casual jobs in Australia are reliant on cafes, restaurants, bars, physical retail stores, event venues and stadiums being open.

“If these businesses aren’t open and operating at anything near normal levels, then there is no role for many casual workers, because their jobs must be performed on site, not remotely.”

The fact that casual work is heavily reliant on being able to work on site was reflected in Humanforce’s survey, with 68% of casual workers saying their job could not be undertaken remotely or working from home.

The research also showed that employers are more likely to rely on more basic and traditional methods of communication with casual workers, compared with the more advanced digital engagement tools available to full-time employees. Survey respondents indicated that a low number of employers communicated with them via messaging apps (24%) or video conferencing (24%), instead choosing to maintain contact with employees using email (65%) or phone calls (56%) and text message (42%).

Mackenzie added “casual worker engagement is critical for Australian businesses looking to maintain a level of business continuity through the COVID-19 period, as without a motivated, connected workforce achieving sales and fostering positive customer service experiences becomes more challenging.”

Workplace engagement was also highlighted as being a key concern to casual workers. Casual workers whose employment had been interrupted by COVID-19 said staying in touch with the company for when it reopened (18%) and maintaining relationships with co-workers (17%) were primary concerns. Alarmingly, 25% of casual workers also said that they would experience a loss of motivation to continue working with a company in the event they were stood down.

Mackenzie concluded “Australian businesses need casual workers to assist in their recovery from COVID-19 lockdowns. As businesses re-open following the easing of lockdown restrictions, those employers who maintained communication with workers and kept them connected with the business will find themselves best placed to benefit.”

Humanforce surveyed 500 Australian part-time and casual workers in April 2020.

Find out more about Humanforce at

Related Articles

21st May 2020 - Jobs in the arts and hospitality could take five years to recover to pre-Coronavirus levels

14th May 2020 - New survey reveals most of Australia’s hospitality staff have lost confidence in the Industry

1st May 2020 - Western Australian hospitality sector to undergo Coronavirus training program before reopening

16th April 2020 - ABS survey shows ‘arts and recreation’ businesses as being hardest hit by Coronavirus pandemic

24th March 2020 - Humanforce release Employee Trace Tool to manage Casual Workers through Coronavirus outbreak

24th March 2020 - Latest lockdown could be the end for many New Zealand hospitality businesses

24th March 2020 - Up to 300,000 hospitality jobs set to be lost across Australia

26th February 2020 - Marvel Stadium delivers hospitality upgrades ahead of 2020 AFL season

10th February 2020 - Tourism and hospitality experts head to AUT

31st January 2020 - New survey shows percentage of hospitality staff found pay discrepancies

28th January 2020 - Australian workforce management software a matchday game-changer for hospitality operations at EPL’s Norwich City

13th August 2019 - New Hospitality consultancy to help clients ensure exceptional customer experiences

12th July 2018 - TimeTarget rebrands as Humanforce

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