News  & Insights

Ask not what your company can do for you …



While the GFC is a fading memory, the event still casts a shadow over our working lives. It was a catalyst for organisations to drive structural change and improve processes and efficiency. It even provided scope for organisations to freeze wages. At the same time, a risk averse outlook developed amongst employees, particularly through the early years post GFC when redundancy was prevalent and job security was front of mind.


This resulted in a period in which employees went above and beyond the call, in efforts to adapt, contribute and deliver in transformational environments which were characterised by personal uncertainty and insecurity. Was the work they were undertaking going to cost them their job?


A large subsidiary of a US multinational provides a good example. It has more than doubled its revenues in Australia through acquisition and organic growth over the last seven years to nearly AUS$2 billion. Throughout this period, it has aggressively pursued structural change, process improvement and efficiency. This has been across all aspects of finance including the outsourcing of transactional processing to an offshore service provider, implementation of a new ERP, integration of acquired business and the list goes on. The resources supporting this program have all been drawn on from within the business and have been beyond the scope of their day to day job. The finance function that was 45 qualified accountants in 2006 is now 12.


Wages growth also provides an interesting insight. Wages growth started to decline in the second half of 2013 and has continued since. As of May 2016, wages growth had hit a record low of just 0.4% for the last quarter. Interestingly, the weakness in pay rises was particularly evident in the private sector where wages edged just 1.9% higher over the year to the end of March 2016. 


In the post GFC world the theme has been – “Ask not what your company can do for you but what you can do for your company.”


Is this changing? 


There are early signs that this could be the case. There are many factors at play and none more important than a developing skills shortage for qualified, driven and career minded professionals. While companies have extracted much of the transactional work from local organisational structures and streamlined processes, the positions remaining require more specialised skills and abilities.  However, there is only a finite pool of these professionals and they need compelling opportunities to engage them, let alone secure them for any business. A driven, career minded professional will always put their hand up for more of a challenge – however, appropriate financial reward, support of professional development and recognition is needed. 


Has the time come for companies to accept that employees will no longer be of the “old” mindset and for companies to instead ask “… what they can do for you”?


What do you think?


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