Written by John McGill on September 11, 2020.
The dramatic fall in economic activity as a result of the pandemic has changed much of the debate around pay.
While the interest and importance of pay equity related cases remain, particularly in the Public Sector, issues around the rapidly changing workplace (WFH, flexibility, productivity) have moved to centre stage and are currently as important in understanding pay levels and related issues. With these changes comes the increased complexity of how jobs are constructed and if they are full-time or not. We are seeing a greater interest of catering for individuals in the different stages of their personal lives and how this can affect career choices from year to year. Quite a heady mix compared to this time last year.
For some, of course, debating changing hours of work is a luxury as they battle even having a job or are on “furlough”. Many who have recently become unemployed are not used to being in that position as they have spent their working lives to date ensuring they have the right education, are well motived, and live in the right areas to get the jobs they want. They are not likely to stay unemployed for long I suspect as their drive to succeed will ensure they get their next role one way or the other. We saw this in the early 1990’s with a similar cohort taking jobs at lower levels of pay to get back into the workforce. Of course, that generates its own problems but that is for later in the piece.
So, welcome to the very changed future. By the way, current forecasts of pay movements are around 1% but as noted above the context is currently as if not more important.