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Category Archives: job satisfaction

12 May 2009 6:15am

Extensive research into its target market, and some strategic alliances, have helped Pacific Brands turn around “appalling” mis-hire and time-to-fill rates, according to its GM of talent and organisational capability, Russell Kronenburg.

It was taking, on average, 181 days to hire design managers when innovative designers “had the potential, with one product, to deliver about $300,000 additional revenue in a day”, he told the Australasian Talent Conference last week.

At the time, two in five designers were leaving the company during their first year.

Pacific Brands opted to spend some time “confirming our understanding about what employees valued about us”, and what external people perceived about the company (and what might attract them), he said.

It found that part of its problem was the lack of a “fantastic relationship” with the design community, and that its competitive, corporate-style recruitment approach didn’t appeal to the best designers.

“Our strategies in the way we were talking to them were wrong. Our solutions were wrong.”

It responded by addressing four key areas:
internships and design projects – to give students “real world” experience. “To be honest, I don’t even care if they come and work for Pacific Brands, I don’t care if I can use their design (because it’s their IP). What I am really keen about is how they become a better designer so that at one point in time, if they ever come into our business, I know that they’ve had real world experience and they’re able to solve our needs and our consumers’ needs.”

Employee development – “it’s about how do I build technical capabilities for some of our more creative and innovative people? Often they love this world of creativity, but they hate constraints. They often don’t get a lot of development because no-one knows how to solve their development needs.”

Pacific Brands partnered with academic institutions around the world and Kronenburg says these are “an untapped source”;

Research – “how do we partner with people to advance research for the industry, from a consumers’ point of view, and possibly even how do we tap into it?” and

Recruitment – Pacific Brands opted not to use external recruiters to source designers because that wouldn’t achieve its aim of building relationships with the design community.

“I didn’t want to give that to an external recruiter because what we would miss out on is the relationship that we could build with people that may not necessarily want to come and work for us tomorrow [but might in the future].”

Long-term focus
Kronenburg says large employers must focus not only on their own talent needs but also those of the broader industries in which they operate.

Initially, he said, the strategies Pacific Brands employed were “about our needs” and the design community was “a bit concerned and sceptical. We found it didn’t unlock a lot of doors for individuals and the community”.

As a result, the company embarked on “other initiatives that were about long-term viability… In doing that, we’ve enabled ourselves to be in a different space”.

The initiatives included:
building (“really cheaply”) a LinkedIn forum called the International Fashion and Apparel Association. Kronenburg manages it and oversees who joins, but there are no constraints on the community. It has about 1400 members worldwide who ask each other questions. Although it wasn’t built as a recruiting portal, he said, “we have found some fantastic people from it”;

going to universities to help students with their interview skills and talk about their portfolios;

knowledge exchanges – giving designers the chance to be guest lecturers at overseas universities; and

industry design projects – winners get to work at Pacific Brands for a limited time, giving it “access to the best design talent in the marketplace”.

Kronenburg said that as a result of all the initiatives, “we’ve got access to a much bigger talent pool of designers than we ever had before.”

“We now have people graduating from universities around the world who would have never known about Pacific Brands previously who now know about us and want to come and work for us.”

http://www.recruiterdaily.com.au/nl06_news_selected.php?act=2&nav=1&selkey=39481&utm_source=daily+email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily+Email+Article+Link

The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey
You are here: HigherEducation > Publications > The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey
“The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey: Graduates’ education and employment outcomes five years after completion of a bachelor degree at an Australian university“ reports the findings of the 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey. It contains information on the outcomes and pathways of bachelor graduates five years after graduation.

Abstract
The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey was designed to gain information on employment outcomes five years after completing a bachelor degree, how these changed from graduates’ initial outcomes, the pathways taken and the factors that influence outcomes. 9,238 graduates from all Table A higher education providers (with one exception) as well as Bond University and the University of Notre Dame participated in the survey. The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey was the first national study of its kind in Australia.

The Key findings were that:

Graduates can take a few years to establish their careers: the rate of participation in paid work among graduates rose from 84% to 91% between the first and fifth year following graduation;
At the national level, the median graduate salary rose from $38,000 to $60,000 in the first five years post-graduation – a 58% increase;
Graduate outcomes and pathways varied for different fields of education, with some graduates taking longer to settle into their careers; and
Graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds achieved outcomes on par with the general graduate population.

http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Publications/Pages/The2008GraduatePathwaysSurvey.aspx

LSAY 55: Varying pay-offs to post school education and training
Posted on 20 January 2009 at 09:16AM

MEDIA RELEASE

For immediate release Tuesday 20 January 2009

Varying pay-offs to post school education and training

Social background plays only a small role in accounting for differences in occupational status and earnings at age 24, indicating that education is enhancing social mobility, a recent Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) study found.

The study, released today, found that, in general, post-school education and training leads to higher status occupations and higher earnings, compared to not doing any further study or training.

However, not all forms of post-secondary education and training are equally beneficial. In terms of earnings, a bachelor degree had the largest impact, increasing earnings by about 31 per cent on average. Apprenticeships increased earnings by about 23 per cent, a TAFE diploma increased earnings by about 14 per cent, and a university diploma by about 17 per cent. Completing a traineeship increased earnings by about 8 per cent and a TAFE certificate by about 5 per cent.

Generally, young women had slightly higher levels of occupational status than did young men, but even during their early career weekly earnings were about 20 per cent less. Possible reasons for this include the higher proportions of young women in part-time work and gender differences in the types of jobs.

ACER chief executive, Professor Geoff Masters, said “Although the overall results are positive for education and training, some TAFE certificates are not delivering sustained increases in earnings. This is in part due to the types of jobs some vocational education is directed towards.”

“However, it may be that young people who had experienced difficulties in the labour market are pursuing TAFE certificate courses or that they are not always choosing appropriate courses.”

The young people were first surveyed in 1995 when they were in Year 9. More than 4200 remained in the study when they were last surveyed in 2005 at about 24 years old. By then, 77 per cent of the cohort was in full-time work. In all years, the incidence of full-time work was substantially higher among young men than among young women.

Further information and additional findings are available in the report, The Occupations and Earnings of Young Australians: The Role of Education and Training by Gary N. Marks. The study is research report number 55 in the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY), a program funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) with support from state and territory governments.

Download full report from: http://www.acer.edu.au/documents/LSAY55.pdf

http://www.acer.edu.au/1/index.php/news-item/lsay55

29 April 2009 8:05am

More than half of employees in the Australian finance profession have had to take on extra tasks after staff cuts, but employers are failing to put in place countering work/life balance initiatives, a survey has found.

Almost one in two accounting and finance professionals (48%) works in a department affected by restructuring, according to Robert Half’s research, which involved 366 Australians (and 4,830 workers worldwide).

Some 58 per cent have taken on extra responsibilities as a result of consolidation, and 49 per cent report increased workloads (Australia was second only to Singapore in this regard, where 58% of workers had higher workloads).

Roughly in line with these figures, almost half (48%) of workers are reporting greater stress, the survey says. Some 33 per cent also report lower morale.

Robert Half found that despite these numbers, only 13 per cent of companies have introduced programs to manage work/life balance, and just 35 per cent have increased the level of communication between managers and staff.

According to David Jones, the managing director of Robert Half Asia Pacific, the one rule that employers should currently be living by is: “you can’t over-communicate in tough times”.

He acknowledges that communication can be more challenging when employees and managers are fearful for their jobs, and suggests giving people the opportunity to ask questions anonymously, “in an open forum whereby questions are submitted in an envelope so nobody knows who’s asking [them]. This ensures managers are made aware of the core issues in their departments and gives them the opportunity to respond.

“Without these sorts of initiatives, managers are often left in the dark and staff continue to feel insecure or unappreciated, leading to a decline in productivity,” he notes.

http://www.hrdaily.com.au/nl06_news_selected.php?act=2&nav=1&selkey=1140&utm_source=daily+email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily+Email+Article+Link

28 April 2009 8:06am

“New entrant” airlines investing heavily in employee development and resisting the urge to “slash and burn” their workforce during economic slumps are outperforming the industry giants, says a new book on the flight trade.

Airlines with the highest labour costs have some of the lowest total costs, say Monash University’s Professor Greg Bamber and North American business academics Jody Hoffer Gittell, Thomas Kochan and Andrew von Nordenflycht in Up in the Air: How Airlines Can Improve Performance by Engaging Their Employees (Cornell University Press ISBN 9780801447471).

They seek to cut expenditure through “underlying process improvements” and building employee commitment rather than “adopting a narrower focus” on reducing staff numbers.

Employee morale within the airline industry is at a next-to-all-time low, the authors say. In 2007, a survey revealed that only 25 per cent of pilots and flight attendants believed that morale in the industry was high, compared to more than 60 per cent just seven years before.

Regular lay-offs over that period have led to increasing cynicism among employees regarding airline management, the authors say. (Just two weeks ago Qantas announced plans to shed 1,750 fulltime-equivalent positions.)

Low morale often results in poor quality service – alienating many customers – and a spike in flight cancellations as disgruntled employees begin “working to rule” (contributing the bare minimum) and declining overtime assignments.

“Labour cost reductions may have been a necessary condition for survival at some airlines,” the authors say, “but they are far from sufficient for fostering a return to sustained profitability.

“[They] can even be counter-productive when they are carried out in a way that allows total costs to grow and service quality to decline. When service quality declines, costs can rise even further due to the costs of service recovery.”

Case Study
Southwest Airlines entered the US market in 1971, and – in what the authors describe as an “unusual feat” in the deregulated industry – has been profitable every year (but its first) since.

Southwest’s initial competitive strategy was based on the rapid turnaround of aircraft between flights, which required “high levels of coordination” across all elements of the business.

According to the authors, the airline is characterised by “frequent, timely problem-solving communication between functions” attributable to HR practices focussing on “building shared goals, shared knowledge and mutual respect”.

Southwest’s strategies include:
a hiring process that seeks to identify candidates “with an awareness of other people and a respect for their work”, as well as a willingness to go above and beyond their specialisation;

a training process that builds on this foundation. Employees receive on-the-job training by a coordinator who explains not only the tasks to be performed but how these tasks impact other functions;

job descriptions that outline specialist tasks but encourage flexibility, with broader language such as, “whatever else is needed to ensure a successful operation”;

a high supervisor-to-employee ratio, enabling leaders to actively engage in coaching, respond to feedback and relieve workloads at peak times;

performance management that focuses on problem solving rather than the assignment of blame. Southwest also uses conflict resolution to build a shared understanding of work processes across different functions;

a work/family balance policy aimed at encouraging workers to have fun – because if they are “there is a good chance they are doing well” – and to take time off to “renew themselves” and maintain their family and community commitments;

trade union partnerships. Southwest is the most highly unionised airline in the US, but has one of the lowest conflict levels in the industry, and has only suffered one strike in its history; and
job security. The airline has avoided lay-offs during downturns, the post-9/11 crisis and in the face of customer-service automation.

According to Southwest co-founder and former CEO, Herb Kelleher, “nothing kills your culture like lay-offs”.

“Nobody has ever been furloughed at Southwest,” he says. “It’s been a huge strength of ours… Not furloughing people breeds loyalty. It breeds a sense of security. It breeds trust.”
In Australia

According to the authors of Up in the Air, Virgin Blue Australia has for the most part followed the Southwest model.

It seeks to achieve cost savings primarily through efficient work practices rather than reducing pay and benefits or by sacking the workers it has “invested its resources” in, they say.

It looks for candidates with “flair”, aims at developing a happy, motivated and committed workforce and encourages flexibility.

Virgin Blue experienced growth rates of up to 200 per cent in its first five years (after it entered the market in 2000), and maintains “unit” costs that are approximately 35 per cent lower than Qantas’s.

Its operational reliability and on-time performance are also consistently higher than that of Qantas, the authors say.

http://www.hrdaily.com.au/nl06_news_selected.php?act=2&nav=1&selkey=1138&utm_source=daily+email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily+Email+Article+Link

JESSICA LEO, CAREERONE EDITOR
April 27, 2009 07:00pm

SOUTH Australian workers are remaining optimistic about their job security and two-thirds of people are happy with their employment.

The results of the 2009 CareerOne reader survey show a promising level of positive thinking despite the economic downturn.

Of the 1000-plus respondents, just over one-quarter were very or quite worried about losing their job in the present economic climate, with those most unconcerned falling in the 25 to 34 age group.

Workers in the 35 to 44 age bracket were the most worried about job losses, with 11 per cent responding that they were “very worried” about the effects of the global financial crisis.

In terms of job satisfaction, an overwhelming 64 per cent of respondents were happy with their job, with only one in five reporting that they were not happy with their employment.

Those discontented with their jobs came from the 45-plus age group, while the happiest workers were aged 25 to 34.

The survey results indicate happiness comes from a strong level of work/life balance, reduced work travel stresses and the majority having the scope to seek out new challenges in present roles.

The No 1 workplace stress was unrealistic expectations about workload, followed by issues caused by management.

JR’s Surf & Ski at Westfield Marion workers Bethany Allison and Nick Day have no such worries.

Both young retail assistants report they are happy and secure in their job.

Ms Allison, 21, of North Brighton, says her work environment adds to her satisfaction.

“The people I work with make it really fun. My boss is really nice, it’s close to home and you don’t have to worry about not getting good hours,” Ms Allison said.

Similarly, Mr Day, 21, who has worked at the retail outlet for three years says he’s “definitely not” worried about losing his job.

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,25394760-2682,00.html