Flexible Work In Australia Essay

2158 words - 9 pages

The Necessity of Flexible Work Policies in Australia This paper draws on current literature regarding flexible working in Australian organisations with particular attention paid to work life balance, gendered effects of traditional and flexible working arrangements, and to the potential business case for flexible working. In this paper, flexibility is defined as how and when work gets done and how careers are organised. It is also discusses the barriers this critical ingredient to overall workplace effectiveness incurs in terms of work/life balance and diversity. (Bitman, Hoffman & Thompson, 2004; Bray, Deery & Walsh, 2005 & Lee, 2001)Official unemployment is approximately 5% in Australia and is attributed primarily to strong economic performance and the growth of people seeking more flexible work options such as part time. These flexible workers are not reflected in the unemployment figures providing an inaccurate picture of the labour market and some unique challenges in the years to come. According to the Business Council of Australia (2005), by the year 2020 the number of people retiring will exceed those entering the labour force. The Australian Human Resource Institute in 2004 further supports the Business Council through a report by Access Economics (2001), that only 125,000 people will enter the labour market for the decade 2020-2030 compared to 170,000 entering the single year of 2001. (ABS, 2003b; and cited in Mithen, 2004)Two primary reasons for the cause of this projected decrease in new labour market entrants have been identified. Firstly, as female participation has increased, fertility rates have decreased to below replacement level in Australia. Secondly, the early retirement culture enjoyed in Australia is one of the youngest in the world with a large proportion of the 'baby boomer' generation expecting to retire between 55 and 60 years of age. The two factors in combination, suggest a labour market shortage in the near future with potential consequences profound for Australia's economy. In addition to the early retirement lifestyle, many retirees are moving to rural or coastal settlements away from cities. This creates a demand for business services in regional centres to support the burgeoning population in these areas and their demand for services to support their lifestyle. (Krautil, 2001;2003; Rance, 2005, Warrilow, 2000)An emerging consequence of this phenomenon is the growing awareness of the need for appropriate workforce design and development of adequate human resource policies to support this change. (Lee, 2001) Organisations are now recognising a need to adopt a longer time frame in their planning in addition to a requirement to be more aware of forces external to their own profession, their own business and even their own industry. (Anderson-Gough, Grey & Robson, 2000) This is still a very new area in Australia and whilst the discussion has commenced at senior levels, there are few examples of...

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