Managers slashed again

ANOTHER middle management massacre is due to sweep WA soon, says Recruitment Solutions executive director Greg Savage.

Mr Savage said middle management cuts were already occurring on the east coast.

“There’s been a 44 per cent decrease in middle management in the past two years,” he said

“Even though economic growth is good, people are still being retrench-ed – and that has been proven to not add to efficiency.”

While middle management is being cut, Australian companies are facing a skills shortage.

“The rush to flatten management structures in the 1980s and 1990s led to skill shortages,” Mr Savage said.

“Companies got rid of middle managers and then had to hire them back on contracts and pay them more.”

Mr Savage said the challenge for managers was to retain key staff.

He said there were a lot of people looking for jobs but “quality people are hard to find”.

“Australian managers seem to find it hard to understand the value of knowledge assets. The retention of a company’s best people has to be the focus,” Mr Savage said.

“They must recognise a company’s key people cannot be taken for granted.”

Mr Savage said traditional jobs were becoming a thing of the past.

Through the first half of the 1990s, Australia created 55,000 full-time jobs and 400,000 part-time jobs.

“Jobs growth is going to occur for people working seven to twenty-one hours a week and those jobs that require people to work more than fifty hours a week,” Mr Savage said.

“Temporary and contract opportunities are growing in Australia at 15 per cent to 20 per cent a year.”

However, Mr Savage believes the growth in part-time work could be a form of hidden unemployment.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry senior economist Nicky Cusworth said this was not so.

She said monthly Australian Bureau of Statistics surveys showed the majority of part-time employees were happy with their hours.

She said what had been interesting was the profound change in the composition of the workforce.

“The number of women participating in the workforce grew rapidly in the 1980s,” Ms Cusworth said.

“At the same time, male participation declined. That was most marked among young men, many of whom were undertaking tertiary study, and those over 55.

“But for the older age group, the decline in participation was a matter of choice.”

Ms Cusworth said the participation of females in the workforce was largely due to the growth in industries such as retail that employed numbers of women on a part-time basis.

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