Professional human activities are divided into many different industries. By analyzing them, a person can learn a lot about the industrial sector of their interest and related local and global political and socioeconomic trends. Studying even one business entity can eventually reveal the state of affairs in the entire professional field. This paper will provide a short report on one of the Australian companies, a description of its industry, and their analysis with recommendations.
Australian Education and Training Industry and the State of Its Supply of Labor
Before proceeding with the analysis, it must be stated that Disability Services Australia (DSA) has been selected as the subject for this short investigative report. According to its official description, DSA is “a values-based, for-purpose social enterprise employing more than 1,500 people in key regions of New South Wales” (About us, n.d., para. 1). The organization is a participant in the education and training industry in the country. Experts note that “this is a fast-growing, large employing industry” (Education and training, n.d., para. 1).
Currently, factors such as the high attrition rate among new educators and trainers and the expected drop in salaries are affecting the supply of labor (Tornos, n.d.). Another thing that needs to be noted is that many employers within this sector require high or very high professional skills from their future employees (Education and training, n.d.). They create a significant imbalance between the number of active professionals and the population of Australia. One can safely say that the education and training industry is experiencing an undersupply of the workforce.
Today’s Factors Affecting the Australian Education and Training Industry
As one can see, there is a high demand for professionals in the sector under discussion. Two factors directly contribute to the presence of this trend in the industry. The first one is the increased retirement rate of past generations of teachers (Tornos, n.d.). Combined with the previously mentioned high turnover among young professionals, it creates a significant labor shortage.
Another major factor is the slowly but steadily expanding Australian population (Tornos, n.d.). More and more Australians need compulsory and higher education and professional training. Australian government analysts predict that “the education system will need to hire an extra 16,400 primary teachers and 9,800 secondary teachers in the years ahead” (Tornos, n.d.). Together, these external and internal societal trends create a high demand for the workforce among employers of educational and training organizations since their financial well-being depends on public satisfaction with their educational services.
State Influence on the Demand and Supply of Labor in the Industry
The Australian government has taken various measures to avert the impending labor force crisis in education and training. For example, “NSW Education Minister, Sarah Mitchell, recently announced a plan to recruit ‘standout’ international and interstate teachers” (Henebery, 2021, para. 11). The Department of Education, Skills, and Employment also made a public announcement about the beginning of comprehensive interdepartmental government support for new educators (Henebery, 2021).
It should be noted that officials have taken steps to create a more comfortable and friendly work environment for aspiring teachers and trainers. They started to implement gradually “a range of policy initiatives designed to create a more supportive, creative, and innovative education system” (Tornos, n.d., para. 12). However, the government’s new approach to labor within the industry immediately attracted several critics.
Some experts and analysts argue that these are not the proper measures and are insufficient. Wilson (2021) argues that monetary incentives for teachers are only a half-measure and that fundamental systemic reform and a new approach to employee retention are needed in the Australian education system. The state has begun tackling the latest education and training industry problems, which is a good sign of likely positive changes.
The Current State of Affairs in DSA
Workforce Diversity at DSA
The main goal of the DSA is to serve people with disabilities and provide them with new life opportunities; therefore, inclusion and diversity must be their core values. It is so since they claim that these two organizational principles are the key ones on their official website ([email protected], n.d.).
One can safely say that DSA strictly follows its staff diversity policy. They claim that their staff consists of “people with diverse values, backgrounds, skills and experience” ([email protected], n.d., para. 2). The workforce of the discussed company consists of employees of different races and ethnic groups as well as workers of other religions. It is a good thing that an organization follows its principles, especially in its fundamental aspects. It shows that DSA is well aware of their social image and the impact of these values on their main activities and theirs.
DSA Organizational Strategy and Its Workforce Plans
Alignment between current strategic approaches and workforce plans is crucial for the successful future of any company, especially for those providing social services such as DSA. Fortunately, the organization’s management successfully combines and balances these two things. The current employment strategy of DSA is aimed at full-scale expansion and further diversification of the workforce ([email protected], n.d.). It is designed so for the future geographic development of the organization (Future directions, n.d.). Each new department will have its own workforce that understands the needs and context of each new state and territory.
It also saves DSA from relocating their essential workers to other regions. One needs to note that the company has recently experienced a significant increase in total revenue, which is another sign of the success of the implemented organizational strategy (Highlights, n.d.). This financial success symbolizes the effectiveness of core strategic approaches. Moreover, it also shows that her management is aware of the scale of future demands of the growing staff and develops the appropriate resources to meet them.
Personnel Turnover at DSA and Effective Preventive Measures
Unfortunately, DSA does not provide any data on its turnover rate, so this part of the analysis will focus on data from the related industry. The average turnover rate within the education and training industry is about 10% (Welfare workforce, 2021). To a large extent, these numbers are facilitated by schoolteachers frequently leaving educational entities due to age, low wages, and burnout (Welfare workforce, 2021).
Therefore, one should consider that the turnover percentage among professional educators of people with disabilities is much lower. It can be said that the turnover rate in DSA and similar organizations are acceptable. However, no company is immune from the rapid and massive leave of employees due to various socioeconomic factors, and DSA is no exception. Reward policies and programs to improve employee happiness and strengthen the workplace culture are effective measures to prevent and reduce employee turnover.
External Labor Resources and Effective Recruiting Tactics
As noted above, one of the central goals of the DSA is geographic expansion across Australia. To do this, they need a more significant number of highly qualified specialists, and external resources can provide them. Advertising through traditional mainstream media such as television, newspapers, and magazines is an excellent way to attract experienced social workers to join the company (External sources of recruitment, n.d.).
An online ad campaign via social media is also an effective strategy that will allow DSA to recruit young specialists in education and training (External sources of recruitment, n.d.). Collaborating with online job websites is another basic but productive tactic (External sources of recruitment, n.d.). DSA can also resort to campus recruiting; it will provide many new workers. The company can build solid professional ties with them and develop a network of potential future employees.
Potential Contingency Measures for DSA
There is always a possibility of extreme situations, and no business entity is immune from them. These phenomena can create a severe labor shortage that can threaten the company’s very existence. The upcoming question is what measures can help the company minimize and avoid the loss of human and financial resources. One of the recovery options includes partnerships with contingency staffing providers. Experts say that “these companies can respond more quickly, with more workers, and with a more skilled workforce than a traditional staffing agency” (Vincent, 2019, para. 13).
Starting an apprenticeship program creates an additional source of human resources, which is crucial during hard times, so it is also a good contingency option. Counseling and educating via software tools require fewer active employees and are less tiring for the educators. The development of an online department and personnel training to work with clients through computers could also help DSA survive extreme situations.
Future Analysis of Various Aspects of DSA
Necessary Additions to the Organizational Strategy of DSA
DSA’s strategy for future development includes comprehensive geographic expansion and deep integration with many public and commercial entities and the upgrade of all its aspects. The organization’s management emphasizes that in its development, they widely used digital technology to analyze current societal and cultural trends and predict upcoming ones (Future directions, n.d.). To achieve its declared performance goals and retain more employees, especially older ones, the company needs to include training on working with clients through computer programs. Annual refresher courses would also be an effective measure to modify the workforce.
Future Needs of DSA Workers
It is obvious that one of the primary future demands of the DSA employees and other representatives of the education and training industry will be a salary increase. Today’s average weekly pay for training and development professionals in Australia is $ 1,742 (Torson, n.d.). It is just slightly above the national average of $ 1,712 (O’Keefy, 2021). As wages in this industry sector will fall, one should expect that workers would demand higher salaries, 10% or 20% higher than the current ones. The lack of highly qualified professionals in the industry and the desire of DSA to grow further can lead to an increased workload for its employees in future years and, consequently, to more frequent burnouts. Professional psychological support is another thing that may become a future need for DSA workers.
Today’s DSA Personnel Capacity and Future Demands
Management’s confidence in the current staff capacity could undermine the sustainability of DSA in the future. Today’s positive numbers and the management’s focus on tomorrow indicate that the current number of employees is sufficient to satisfy the social demand (Highlights, n.d.). However, the future crisis in the education and training industry could create a shortage of human resources for a growing organization trying to meet the demands of a steadily expanding Australian population. It can lead to stagnation in the company at best and financial losses and increased staff turnover at worst.
Solutions for the Future Undersupply of Labor
Since it is still a mystery how long the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns will last, one should not rely on foreign specialists as the Australian government did. DSA would have to address the problem of labor supply gaps using national human resources. As noted earlier, implementing apprenticeships would be the most effective solution with a long-term effect. The strategy, however, is of long-term nature, and it would take a lot of time, at least a year, but the crisis can hit the industry much earlier. Resorting to contingency staffing companies is the best short-term measure in this case (Vincent, 2021). It will partially solve the future shortage of employees, but only until the contract expires.
Recommendations for Improving Communication Strategies at DSA
DSA staff would not need to change anything significant in their communication strategies. Their principles of inclusiveness and diversity would provide a welcoming environment for new employees and apprentices ([email protected], n.d.). A greater reliance on electronic devices in the workplace would be a good addition. It would also prepare the company for effective communication between its branches in different states. It should also be noted that the DSA staff would need to strengthen their communication channels with management so that the vision of high ranks better matches the capacity of their employees.
Recommendations for DSA Management
- A crisis of lack of high-quality educators will soon and inevitably hit the education and training industry.
- Both external and internal socioeconomic patterns signal this; the government and some commercial organizations have already begun to take several preparatory and resolving measures, so DSA should also start doing so.
- DSA needs to start addressing the upcoming issue in the next few months to fully implement its plan for future development.
- Failure to act and blind following the established plan will lead to stagnation, financial losses, and high-quality workers leaving.
- Apprenticeship schemes and cooperation with organizations able to provide highly skilled workers quickly is what DSA needs right now.
This work is a short report on the workforce status in DSA. The organization provides professional education and related services for people with disabilities. The company interacts with local communities and the Australian community very frequently. The analysis showed that they intend to expand significantly soon, but the intra-industrial crisis may prevent this. Solutions were identified, namely the apprenticeship program and partnership with contingency staffing providers, which would allow the DCA to overcome the upcoming hardships. The recommendations above aim to convince the DSA management to start these two proposed measures as soon as possible.
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