Covid-19: An Update from John McGill

The sudden changes in how our economy operated that occurred from March of this year were followed in May by a tentative emergence of eased restrictions and slowly a picture unravels of how widespread the damage is to our economy. Jobs remain one of the governments key objectives and the change in the rules around extending the wage subsidy belies their serious concerns as to how high unemployment will rise and how quickly the economy can recover. As at the time of writing it is not looking pretty. The wage subsidy has been perhaps the most successful (and expensive) policy initiative the government has used but the second round will likely be the last – it’s just too expensive. 

The dramatic and accelerated changes to our working habits are much talked about and I agree they will likely accelerate the changes to WFH/flexibility/use of technology that were occurring at a slower rate. Interesting though they are the more serious issues around actual levels of economic activity are the priority. The handouts must slow down, become more targeted and sooner rather later, cease. They are only a stopgap initiative (very welcome though they have been).

In our areas of work we have conducted a series of weekly/now fortnightly or longer short surveys tracking the changes that have occurred so as we can shed light on what is happening with remuneration increases, recruitment, leave, uptake of the wage subsidy, and so on. We hope this information has been useful. Certainly, the sample sizes held up well and feedback showed we were keeping the topics current. Being able to track changes and update previously stable indicators monthly is very important at present. Many organisations are facing difficult decisions at this time and we are available to support you and help provide greater clarity for your decision making through our financial modeling tool and Job Evaluation methodology.

We thank you all for your continued support, we remain available at all our offices and welcome the opportunity to stay in touch and continue to strive to understand this challenging and difficult period. We have been focussed on the data, looking at the changes, and ensuring you have that knowledge and can put it to work. Whatever the situation, we are here to help you.

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