Could Gen Zs be the ultimate answer to Australia’s labour shortage crisis?

For over six months, Australian businesses have been feeling the consquences of the labour shortage crisis. Its impact can be felt across all industries, however mostly across the part-time and casual workforce. The Census data revealed Gen Zs make up to 20% of the population, making up a large proportion of Australia’s part-time and casual workforce.

This data revealed part-time workers were extremely underutilised, indicating this cohort might hold the key to the labour shortage. To better understand the working preferences of this generation and how to greater utilise them, WorkJam commissioned national research into Australia’s casual and part-time Gen Z employees. The results revealed opportunities that businesses should consider to cater for the needs of their Gen Z workforce.

How can businesses leverage this data?

From our study we can see what Gen Z looks for in a casual role, it found employees are after more work hours, greater flexibility with assigned shifts, career progression through training and better management. Also, the factors that drove these employees away from their workplaces were ones that are preventable. Poor management was the leading factor, followed by lack of communication and recognition, and deficient allocated work hours.

The labour shortage crisis is showing no signs of easing, so it is more important than ever to retain employees. A digital flexible shift workplace platform, such as WorkJam, could be a great tool for businesses to consider and implement as it allows employees the opportunity to have flexibility with their shifts, along with communication and training all in one app. In addition, this tool will also provide an indication of the working hours your staff are after.

We know how difficult face-to-face communication can be, especially for the younger generation, so why not provide an opportunity to simplify this process and give your employees this flexibility. Tools such as WorkJam also provide functions to streamline communication across the entire business, providing opportunities to send and receive messages. Not only ensuring the message is delivered, but read and understood!

How can businesses Gen Z-ify their workplaces?

Gen Zs have grown up with technology and now expect tech to be integrated into their work lives. Gen Zs are looking for a work environment where they have the ability to pick their desired hours and to work when and how they want. An open shift workplace enables them to cancel shifts for last-minute plans, or pick up shifts if their plans don’t go ahead.

A digital workplace for organisations, enables frontline employees the ability to have an open shift workplace and to streamline their communications. A digital workplace can provide the opportunity to tailor tools for learning and assessment, provide rewards and recognition and task management. Providing a solution to the factors that drive these employees away.

Why should businesses better utilise their Gen Zs?

There’s a misconception among older generations that younger workers aren’t willing to put in the hard work – however, this is not the case. The research provides a better understanding of this generation and the opportunities that are available. Nearly one-in-three Gen Z employees are working fewer than 10 hours, indicating their desire for additional shifts.

The May 2022 census data revealed that there were a total of 16.9 million hours not worked. Of these, 14.1 million hours were not worked by people who preferred more hours.

It seems crazy to think, in a time where there is a shortage in labour, people who want more hours of work are not receiving it. Nonetheless, many Australian businesses are not utilising their workforces to the best of their ability. Businesses should consider ways to onboard a digital workplace if they haven’t already. With the labour shortage crisis showing no signs of easing, this challenge we face encourages organisations to consider new opportunities.

Andrew Myers is the Managing Director APAC at WorkJam.