Why Deputy CEO Ashik Ahmed dislikes today's 'gig' economy

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>

THE LOCKDOWNS have had a massive impact on gig workers. Whether they be Uber drivers, couriers, cleaners or dish hands.  Many did not have protection from support schemes such as JobKeeper.

Ashik Ahmed, the CEO and co-founder of the global workforce management platform for employee scheduling, timesheets and communication company, Deputy, says it raises questions about the future of gig work and how it should be handled.

Mr Ahmed said he did not like the term ‘gig economy’.

“I like to call this the ‘instant gratification economy’,” Mr Ahmed told Talking Business. “We are all trained in this world to get what we want, when we want and where we want it.

“If I want to watch something, I can watch it on Netflix. If I want to eat something there’s Uber Eats. And work has become like that to some degree. This is what the gig economy has delivered, the instant gratification economy.” 

Mr Ahmed said this was reflected by his conversations with Uber drivers.

“The only reason they are working for Uber is flexibility. Nothing else. Not the money, the job development or the people. This is another sign of the instant gratification economy.”

This is why Mr Ahmed sees gig work, while important, as having a limited future. It’s not, he said, about the future of work.

“Do you want to have a meaningful relationship and a family in your life or do you want to live on Tinder,” Mr Ahmed said

He said there was an element of gig work in a lot of businesses, but gig workers can’t represent the company’s brand, be it in hospitality, tourism or retail.

The brand, he said, was not something that could be outsourced.

“That brand comes from your culture, your values and someone showing up for gig work for one shift is not going to be the best ambassador of that,” he said. “It is something very transactional in providing a service, yes, gig work makes sense, but I don’t see it being the mainstream.”

While there has been an increase in gig workers with the lockdowns – with, for example, retail managers suddenly finding they were working zero hours and becoming Uber drivers to bring in some money – Ahmed does not see them staying there for the long term.

“People don’t come to work for work, they come to work to be part of the community. Working with other people having a manager, where you are becoming a better you every day and also you are contributing to something larger,” he said.

“There is no career development in being a gig worker. You may get to learn a lot of different skills, you may get to earn some money,” Mr Ahmed said.

“I’m not saying gig work doesn’t exist. It absolutely exists and there is a lot of value that we all benefit from.

“But the notion that is the future of work and employment is going to disappear is not a philosophy that I subscribe to.”

That said, he argued governments needed to bring in rules to protect the health and safety of gig workers and he felt governments were “lagging behind” on this issue. They were treating the symptoms rather than the root causes of the problems with for example, the number of deaths of Uber Eats drivers.

What’s needed, he said, was to look at what consumers needed and then come up with the right system. This meant governments needed to work with companies like Uber to come up with solutions.

www.deputy.com

www.leongettler.com

 

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness.

https://play.acast.com/s/talkingbusiness/talking-business38-interview-with-ashik-ahmed-ceo-and-co-fou

 

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Is the Great Resignation about to hit Australia?

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>

THERE IS NOW a global trend linked to COVID-19. It’s called the Great Resignation.

In a nutshell, employees are moving away from jobs where they feel unappreciated and are instead moving toward new priorities and goals, from more money to greater control over their time in the COVID-era.

HireVue head of assessments Asia-Pacific, Tom Cornell, said he had noticed the trend here.

He said there was now a greater number of people looking to leave their jobs and pursue new career opportunities. Mr Cornell said had been happening a little before COVID-19, but the pandemic created a “perfect storm”.

Mr Cornell said the lockdowns had given people more free time, leaving them considering their futures, what they are doing, and questioning some of the career choices they have made.

“We have seen a big increase in entrepreneurship as well,” Mr Cornell told Talking Business.

“With a lot of people spending time at home and thinking about the future, this has meant it’s given them the extra push they needed to pursue the hustle and take their business from being an idea to something tangible.” 

PANDEMIC DRAWS NEW CONSIDERATIONS 

Mr Cornell said COVID had created a range of existential issues for people.

“People are really starting to think about what’s important for them and what really matters … and we’re living in a time when that nine-to-five Monday-to-Friday grind is being challenged,” he said.

“People are starting to question, do I want to spend eight hours a day, five days a week in the office, having spent an hour commuting there?”

Mr Cornell said we would see a trend towards a hybrid work model. People will come back to the office but, say, they will only spend two to three days a week, and spend the rest of the time at home, “still doing the job but throwing in other stuff as well”.

NEW VALUE GAINED FROM HOME WORK

With a lot of people adapting to working from home, having the flexibility to choose when to go into the office has now become valuable for many people.

But at the same time, many will be drawn back to the office because it offers more opportunities for social interaction that simply cannot be achieved through Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

This had created an employee’s market.

“There is now more of an onus on the employer to make the working environment and the role itself not only to prospective but also current employees, not only to draw talent in but to retain them,” Mr Cornell said.

“We’re seeing a lot more confidence from employees to ask more from their employers. People are now more confident about taking risks and starting something new.”

Mr Cornell said the pandemic had also given people new transferrable skills. Some people had lost their jobs and others have had to move to a totally different area, as their industry had been hit hard by the lockdowns and COVID.

This had given them new skills that they could either take back to the office, or help them find new work.

“People can take a real focus on what have I learned from that rather than say I did this for the last 18 months and that defines me,” Mr Cornell said.

“People have been doing different things, getting involved in the community. Or even how you have had to adapt working from home. That can show some resilience and some agility.

“So I think people can bring a lot of positive things out of the lockdowns that they can then apply to the workforce.”

www.hirevue.com

www.leongettler.com

 

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness.

https://play.acast.com/s/talkingbusiness/talking-business37-interview-with-tom-cornell-the-head-of-as

HESTA teams up with Girls of Impact to drive financial services careers

INDUSTRY superannuation fund HESTA has announced a collaboration with social enterprise Girls of Impact to encourage more young women to consider a career in financial services.

HESTA Chief experience officer Lisa Samuels said the innovative collaboration would see the $64 billion fund work with Girls of Impact to highlight career opportunities and pathways in financial services where women are historically underrepresented. This includes in areas such as risk and compliance, digital and technology and investments. 

“HESTA has built a strong, inclusive and diverse culture where our people get to do amazing work that’s really making a difference for our members,” Ms Samuels said.

“Financial services can offer a wonderfully rewarding career. We want to share the experiences and cutting-edge work our people are doing every day that simply wouldn’t be available in other industries.”

More than 80 percent of HESTA members are women. HESTA is the national industry superannuation fund for people working in health and community services.

Ms Samuels said improving gender diversity in under-represented sectors like financials services could financially benefit members.

“We strongly believe that more diverse and inclusive teams have better decision making, which can lead to stronger long-term performance,” Ms Samuels said.

“We’ve certainly seen this at HESTA, and we’re encouraging a focus on gender diversity in our industry and among our partners because we want our members to benefit from this performance edge.”

HESTA has a long-term strategy to develop a pipeline of talent in financial services and to encourage more women to pursue careers in the sector.

This latest collaboration with Girls of Impact follows on from HESTA’s partnership with Future IM/PACT, an industry initiative aimed at attracting more diverse talent into investment teams, which is supported by a HESTA Internship Program. HESTA is also set to pilot a Returnship Program to encourage, experienced mature-aged workers to retrain and return to the workforce in areas of skills shortage like tech, digital and data science.

Girls of Impact CEO Kate Bushell said partnering with HESTA would help build talent pipelines in non-traditional sectors for women entering the workforce.

"We want to see more girls explore underestimated careers and industries such as funds management and superannuation,” Ms Bushell said.

“This collaboration with HESTA is so crucial because we need more women in decision-making roles, especially in financial services, where investment decisions can impact people’s financial futures and the Australian economy."

Ms Bushell said the collaboration would showcase the wide range of career opportunities available to women in financial services and the ability to make a real difference. 

“The superannuation industry is a great career pathway for young women to explore as they can be and invest in supporting positive change in our world,” Ms Bushell said. 

Ms Samuels said working at HESTA meant you were "part of something much bigger".

“Our members in health and community services do so much for so many in our community and it’s a real privilege to support them to have a better financial future,” Ms Samuels said.

“To achieve this for our members we need to be thinking big about how we can make a difference on huge systemic challenges like climate change and gender equality because these issues impact our members.

“A lot of people at HESTA find they’re doing some of the best work of their careers that’s helping improve outcomes for our members and supporting a healthier and fairer community.”

www.hesta.com.au

www.girlsofimpact.com

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Viva Vivarelli, bringing VAs to life

By Leon Gettler >>

THE BIGGEST job opportunities are now out there for virtual assistants. Karen Vivarelli, who set herself up a virtual assistant (VA) and who is now running training courses for women planning to become VAs, said there was no shortage of opportunities for virtual assistants.

Because of her entrepreneurial skills setting herself up as a sole operator, Ms Vivarelli has been named a finalist for the 2021 AusMumpreneur Awards.

Rather than a plain old administrative secretarial role, virtual assistants can manage a company’s social media and digital marketing, its email marketing or even run its podcasts.

Ms Vivarelli chose to become a virtual assistant back in 2015, when she was working as a personal assistant in a legal firm and was made redundant when she became pregnant with her second baby. 

She saw that as the opportunity to get out of her nine-to-five career and start exploring flexible opportunities because she now had her second baby and needed that flexibility.

INSPIRED BY A ‘FRIEND OF A FRIEND’

Ms Vivarelli talked to “a friend of a friend” who had done just that and who explained what was required. Not many people were doing VA work at the time, but Ms Vivarelli realised she could manage such a role.

She “DIYed everything” – setting up her own website, doing her own social media posts and packages. As a result, she got her first two clients with her posts on Facebook.

“It was something I really loved. It was creative and I didn’t realise I was an entrepreneur until I started doing this,” Ms Vivarelli told Talking Business.

She said the combination of her having worked as a personal assistant, being familiar with finance and being tech savvy meant she had a solid start and, as soon as she started working with clients, she learned about the tech tools they use to run their online businesses. With those skills, she also became an online business coach.

Ms Vivarelli said there were “so many opportunities for virtual assistants” such as being able to work from home, at whatever time you like, which makes it perfect for mothers.

A well organised VA can choose where they want to work, whether it’s from home, or a café.

“It’s a laptop lifestyle,” Ms Vivarelli said. “As a business owner, they can set their own rates, work with anyone from around the world and there is no shortage of online businesses needing help. There was also the opportunity to work with businesses like graphic designers, and coaches and any online business.”

She said, with the pandemic, there was now more demand for virtual assistants as so few people were going into offices anymore.

VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS HELPED VIRTUALLY

Ms Vivarelli said there were so many skills to pick up. The effective way for people to do this was through online courses, with some specialists teaching virtual assistants how to do email marketing, launching podcasts or becoming a social media manager.

Ms Vivarelli’s  Kickstarter course teaches women how to set up their online business – which includes the financials, the social media and the website – how to on-board clients and find them.

It’s an eight week online course, together with group coaching calls and personal reviews

Ms Vivarelli’s course gives students access to tech tools such as Kajabi – which is a platform for memberships, podcasts and newsletters – MailChimp for email marketing, project management tools like Osama, Dubsado for client relationship management and Canva for graphic design as well as social media tools.

“It’s a life changing course,” Ms Vivarelli said. “Women have gone from being made redundant, or losing their jobs in a pandemic, or having to change and they have started working online as a virtual assistant.

“(They have) replaced their usual income with money in their business and they can then not be stressed about being home with the kids. It really is life-changing.”

www.karenvivarelli.com.au

www.leongettler.com

 

 

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness.

https://play.acast.com/s/talkingbusiness/talking-business32-interview-with-online-business-coach-kare

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Catalyst for better aged – and child – care

By Leon Gettler >>

AGED CARE and early childhood care are two of the booming sectors of the economy where there will be a lot of jobs.

Catalyst Education is now putting a lot of focus on training workers for those sectors but, according to Catalyst CEO Jo Asquith, there’s a lot of work that still has to be done.

Ms Asquith told Talking Business the findings of the Royal Commission showed that the aged care sector was “crying out for a skilled workforce” and that one of the criticisms of the commission was there had not been enough planning in the capacity to have enough people on the ground to look after residents in aged care facilities or in home care. 

Catalyst Education was focused on training that workforce so that they could “hit the ground running”. 

Ms Asquith said the recent Federal Budget reflected the government’s commitment to create greater numbers of skilled workers into that area and in early childhood as well.

CATALYST FOR CHANGE

Catalyst Education is the parent company, with Selmar Education, Practical Outcomes and the Royal College of Healthcare in Queensland, and all the training is delivered through the registered training organisations.

There are 80 trainers and they all come from the sector. They might even have been directors of aged care centres and childcare centres in the past.

The childcare sector is a larger part of the Catalyst operation

About half the learners are already in the workforce, whether it is through an early childcare centre or in an aged care centre, most seeking to upskill to progress their careers and earn more money. The other half are unemployed or school leavers or mature age students wanting to get into the sector.

DEVELOPING ADAPTIVE SKILLS

Ms Asquith said the adaptive skills of care and compassion were key to their development. In the aged care sector, they are looking at every resident having 200 minutes of one-on-one care per day.

That 200 minutes a day covered personal care in areas like showering, moving residents from place to place and also bringing about connections with other residents and people in home care.

“That’s absolutely critical because it’s all about human centred education and it’s putting that clientele at the centre of everything we do,” Ms Asquith said.

“So there’s the technical skills which are absolutely critical, everybody has to come out with a suite of technical skills, but we’re really looking for people who are passionate about the sectors in which we deliver our programs, that have care and compassion and also how we develop that through the course of our training package, and that’s what the sector is crying out for.”

Ms Asquith said those “adaptive skills” spanned all sectors that Catalyst was now working in.

She said the 200 minutes per day per resident requirement highlighted the gap in the workforce strength that is currently a problem in the aged care sector.

“For me, one of the amazing things is we are working with two very vulnerable populations, the very youngest of our society and the very oldest of our society and going back to those adaptive skills, they are absolutely required across the sectors that we work in so it’s a really exciting space to be in,” Ms Asquith said.

www.catalysteducation.com.au

www.leongettler.com 

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness

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Educators Pearson and Institute of Public Accountants sign MoU

IN THE SPIRIT of educational excellence and collaboration, the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) and Pearson Asia Pacific have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at IPA’s headquarters in Melbourne to recognise BTEC Business students and graduates as IPA members.

“Through this MoU, we seek to form a strong bond with Pearson to deliver new education standards and support to accounting graduates in the region, so they may grow and prosper in their chosen professional career path,” IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway said.

Pearson is a world-learning company which awards globally recognised academic and vocational qualifications as part of a range of offerings from online course development for higher education, to learning and development resources for corporations. 

“Pearson is delighted to partner with the Institute of Public Accountants. Like us, the IPA understand the importance of students needing high standards of both knowledge, and practical skills to kick start their career,” Pearson Asia Pacific chief financial officer David Lyons said.

“Ninety percent of BTEC graduates are employed full time after graduating. And Pearson BTEC Level 5 Higher National Diploma in Business (Accounting and Finance) is the perfect passport to a fulfilling career in almost any sector.”

Mr Conway said, “The MoU will provide graduates of Pearson Education South Asia’s accredited accounting program, with a pathway to IPA membership and access to the Institute’s professional program; a Master of Business Administration. Together, we will continue to raise the bar for education standards across the profession and across the region.”

 

About the Institute of Public Accountants

The IPA, formed in 1923, is one of Australia’s three legally recognised professional accounting bodies. With the acquisition of the Institute of Financial Accountants in the UK, the IPA Group was formed, with more than 42,000 members and students in over 80 countries. The IPA Group is the largest SME focused accountancy organisation in the world. www.publicaccountants.org.au

About Pearson

 

More than 20,000 Pearson employees deliver products and services in nearly 200 countries, all working towards a common purpose – to help everyone achieve their potential through learning. Pearson p[rovides high quality, digital content and learning experiences, as well as assessments and qualifications that help people build their skills and grow with the world around them. www.pearsonplc.com

 

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A no brainer: expanding self education tax deductions

THE Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) is hopeful the Federal Government will pull the trigger on last year’s Federal Budget proposal to proceed with expanding self-education deductions.

“Our tax system inhibits rather than incentivises reskilling and retraining. Education expenses that do not have a sufficient connection to an individual’s current employment are currently not deductible,” IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conwaysaid.

“The disruption caused by globalisation, technology, intergenerational forces, the changing nature of work and the labour market are driving the need for continued upgrading of skills throughout life.

“Upskilling and further education is an investment in human capital that adds to the economy’s productive capacity and can play a key part of our post COVID recovery.

“Those who have the financial capacity to invest in themselves should be encouraged to do so particularly in a post-pandemic environment where jobs have been displaced and overseas immigration of skilled labour has been curtailed.

“The government is proceeding with its proposal to exempt employers from fringe benefits tax if they provide retraining and reskilling benefits to redundant, or soon-to-be-redundant, employees where the benefit may not relate to their current employment," Mr Conway said.

“To provide equity with individuals who have employer support for reskilling or retraining, it is important to extend a similar tax concession to individuals who undertake further education at their own cost.

“As part of the proposal to extend the self-education tax deduction, the IPA supports the inclusion of appropriate integrity provisions to ensure taxpayers don’t take advantage of the tax system by engaging in lifestyle pursuits at the taxpayers’ expense.

“A shared risk approach where the taxpayer bears some of the cost of education, particularly in cases where the retraining does not result in a change or advancement of career, is warranted,” Mr Conway said.

 

About the Institute of Public Accountants

The IPA, formed in 1923, is one of Australia’s three legally recognised professional accounting bodies. With the acquisition of the Institute of Financial Accountants in the UK, the IPA Group was formed, with more than 40,000 members and students in over 80 countries. The IPA Group is the largest SME focused accountancy organisation in the world.  www.publicaccountants.org.au

 

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