Flexible working arrangements are perfect for those looking for a job that fits around their lifestyle, family commitments or entrepreneurial aspirations.
The number of Australians seeking flexible work is on the rise with approximately 2.5 million workers now employed on a casual basis; that’s more than a quarter of the workforce and up from 13 per cent in 1990. Flexible working arrangements are perfect for those looking for a job that fits around their lifestyle, family commitments or entrepreneurial aspirations.
For instance, the number of women resuming employment after taking maternity leave has risen significantly in the past few decades, as access to flexible work continues to improve. In the last 20 years the percentage of couples with children under the age of 18, where both partners work, has steadily risen from 53 per cent in 1996 to 61 per cent in 2016 and the proportion of children in formal care increasing from nine per cent in 1996 to 19 per cent in 2017.
According to CROSSMARK’s Human Resources Director, Joanne Matthews, who employs a lot of casual merchandisers as part of their greater shared team, “the work life balance that merchandising provides means that roles are in strong demand, particularly in the metropolitan areas. At CROSSMARK, we’re seeing a real trend towards people looking for ‘lifestyle roles’ where they are absolutely committed to the job but looking for more balance in their lives. Not only does this provide an agile and cost-effective solution for clients, it’s perfect for the growing number of Australians seeking flexible work.”
Today, being a ‘working mum’ has become the norm rather than the exception with a large proportion of mums opting to return to work due to flexible workplaces that aren’t confined to a rigid 9am-5pm day. This is vital for mums seeking to strike the balance between work and family life. Finding flexible work that fits neatly within school hours, however, isn’t always easy as many casual roles often require a commitment to
weekends or evenings; the ultimate solution being one where they can choose their hours. One option that provides this level of flexibility is as a causal merchandiser with a field marketing agency.
“While CROSSMARK employs a large proportion of mums, we have a diverse range of people that are looking for flexibility for all sorts of reasons; caring for elderly family members, because they are studying (and that’s all ages), or they simply don’t want a nine to five commitment. We are also seeing more candidates who are ‘start-up entrepreneurs’ trying to launch their own business,” she continues. “For example, they might work 20 hours per week with CROSSMARK and the rest of the time on their own ventures. They really appreciate that flexibility and, as their needs change, so can their hours.”
Cherry Tate of South Australia is a merchandiser with CROSSMARK and says, “The thing I love most about being a CROSSMARK field merchandiser is that it’s so flexible and fits around my family. Being able to pick my daughter up from school and be there in the evening to help with homework and take her to sport is very important to me. The technology that CROSSMARK uses allows me to tailor my schedule so that I never miss the important moments in my family’s lives,” she continues. “Also, if I have an appointment coming up, or am lucky enough to get away for an extra-long weekend, I can just add the dates into the system myself and know that I won’t be allocated work on those days. I have a lot of control and flexibility which allows me to have the perfect work/life balance.”
Experience isn’t always essential either according to Matthews. “Our culture statement is that we empower people to make a difference, so we look for candidates with this mindset,” she explains. “We have great training in place so we can teach people how to do the job, but you can’t teach someone to have a specific mindset. We’re always very interested in why people want a flexible role so that we can accommodate our employees’ requirements and ensure we allocate a client with the best fit.
“We also acknowledge that working in the field – away from head office and the rest of the team – presents certain challenges, so introduced our monthly ‘star awards’ to incentivise and engage employees; our CEO calls them personally to congratulate them. We have just launched a wellness program this year too. It’s a great way for our casual employees to be part of the bigger culture and vision at CROSSMARK.”