Small firms failing to engage with fragmented workforce

Small businesses are failing to properly grasp the increasingly fragmented nature of the workforce, according to a new report.


A study by KPMG says increasing advancements in mobile and wireless technology have made it easier for employees to work at night, on weekends and while commuting.


But small businesses aren’t dealing well with the change according to the report.


The survey of more than 600 people found 80% of employees experience some type of work “fragmentation” while 20% say they experience moderate to high fragmentation.


Two thirds of people say they rarely work outside standard business hours. At the other end of the scale 13% have little division between work and personal time.


“There is a strong correlation between the use of technology and the degree of fragmentation people are experiencing,” KPMG IT advisory partner Ian Hancock told SmartCompany.


“I think the over-arching message here is that a degree of flexibility and fragmentation of work scheduling provides a level of enhanced satisfaction within jobs but as that fragmentation continues a number of things happen,” he says.


Fragmentation is most prominent in the arts and recreation industries followed by agriculture, forestry/fishing, professional, scientific and technical services.


About 80% said they had time to manage their personal schedules and the study found they were “more likely to feel positive outcomes” than other workers.


Employers appear to be increasingly turning to temporary workers according to a survey by the Adecco Group which shows there are now 400,000 temporary workers in Australia, with that figure expected to grow 5% annually until at least 2015.


Nearly half of large organisations are likely to use temporary labour but less than 20% of small businesses do the same.


Adecco Group CEO Jeff Doyle said: “Temporary labour enables companies to adjust their labour supply to meet the peaks and troughs of their business needs cost effectively and also provides access to a range of industry specialists and specialist skills when required”.


Machinery operators and drivers make up the largest slice of the temporary labour market (8.5%) followed by clerical administration workers such as contact centre workers (7.9%), professionals (5.8%) and trade workers (4.2%).


“This confirms to us that the range of temporary roles has expanded past the traditional blue collar jobs to include professionals and managers from all industry sectors,” Doyle says.


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