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As unemployment surges, why are payroll professionals in demand?

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Like the rest of the world, COVID-19 has taken a toll on the Australian job market.

The national unemployment rate continues to climb, reaching 7.5% in July, up from 5.2% in March.[1]

During the same period, the payroll job market saw a similar slump, with payroll jobs decreasing by 5.6%, and wages by 4.8%.

However, unlike many other industries, the payroll job market has rebounded, with Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, stating that “around 35% of lost payroll jobs had been regained by mid-July.”[2]

So what explains the increasing demand for payroll professionals?

As a payroll recruitment specialist for Sage, I speak to our Australian business clients daily, to help them source quality payroll personnel. What I’ve heard from our clients is that payroll professionals have never been more critical to their businesses.

Even Prime Minister Scott Morrison echoed this sentiment, declaring his appreciation for Australia’s payroll specialists for their efforts in “rolling out JobKeeper to more than 3 million Australians’ pay packets, almost immediately, burning the midnight oil because families depend on it.”

The rebound in payroll jobs is testament to how much businesses have relied on their payroll department during this challenging time, to maintain business continuity and adapt to an ever-evolving business environment.

How can Sage help you find skilled payroll staff?

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, our Sage Recruitment team has helped over 85 businesses find short-term payroll contractors. See how our highly experienced team can help your business maintain smooth payroll operations during this challenging time.

Discover More

Payroll professionals have been critical in helping businesses transition their workforces to remote working, including establishing robust privacy policies and security. They’ve helped them leverage government stimulus schemes like JobKeeper. And they’ve been integral in helping businesses manage their workforces at a time when, unfortunately, redundancies are common.

All this, while maintaining regular corporate payrolls – often doing so from home.

Prior to COVID-19, processing payroll and ensuring employees were paid correctly would have been a seamless and reliable process for most businesses. Now, with all these added responsibilities, payroll professionals are often stretched to their limits, maintaining business critical operations at a time when conditions can change quickly. The unfortunate re-emergence of COVID-19 in Victoria, placing renewed strain on businesses, illustrates just how precarious the business environment is.

It’s no surprise then why payroll professionals are in demand, even with national unemployment surging.

In my conversations with our business clients, one of their key concerns is how they will maintain a smooth payroll operation when the unforeseen happens. A member of their payroll department may fall ill or require leave to care for a relative. Or changes within the business or the wider business landscape may necessitate more payroll staff to maintain business continuity.

Do you have a plan in place to ensure your payroll function – and all the new business critical operations they now maintain – will continue in the event of unforeseen circumstances?

How can Sage help you find skilled payroll staff?

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, our Sage Recruitment team has helped over 85 businesses find short-term payroll contractors. See how our highly experienced team can help your business maintain smooth payroll operations during this challenging time.

Discover More

[1] ABS, July 2020

[2] ABS media release, 28 July, 2020

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