Casual staffing platform Sidekicker says it is placing around 2500 Australian workers into jobs per week and its $20 million in funding will allow it to expand even further across Australia and New Zealand.
The fresh capital will also be used to upgrade the Sidekicker platform, which has placed more than 40,000 pre-vetted and pre-interviewed workers in roles at more than 5000 organisations since it was founded by Thomas Amos and Jacqui Bull in 2013, including at Australia Post, Uber, Airbnb and Crown.
The investment comes from long-term partner and Australian recruitment giant Seek Investments, which invested $10 million in the platform in July 2019, having been the startup’s sole investor since 2015.
The demand for the platform has grown as COVID-19 restrictions have been eased across the country and businesses of all shapes and sizes have been grappling with staff shortages, says Bull.
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This has been particularly evident in the hospitality and healthcare space, where Sidekicker is seeing businesses increasing their casual rates substantially to secure casual workers. Rates are rising between 15-25% and even beyond 30% for some roles, compared to the start of the year.
“Businesses can’t fill internal roles with volumes of labour they require, so they are turning to Sidekicker to fill those gaps,” the co-founder tells SmartCompany.
Sidekicker currently has more than 12,000 casual workers, or ‘Sidekicks’, listed on the platform, with Bull noting that registrations from new workers are now trending upwards on a monthly basis, which she says is a “positive sign for the market” as more people are looking for work.
Sidekicker itself employs a team of 133, up from 75 in mid-2019, across its offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Auckland and Wellington, and Bull nominates the startup’s talent, and its investment in technology, as key reasons why it has been able to continue to grow its annual gross revenue by more than 70%, despite the effects of the pandemic on the labour market.
At the same time, she says, the startup has focused on developing strong relationships with the organisations that choose to work with Sidekicker, offering them data and insights to help them “make decisions and know how to get the most out of the labour market and the Sidekicker platform”.
This includes intelligence on when the best times to post jobs, and what rates and shift lengths to offer, as well as the “less technical” aspects of attracting staff, like offering free lunches or shift bonuses.
A long-term partnership
The long-term support from Seek Investments has also played a role in Sidekicker’s continued growth, and CEO Andrew Bassat said in a statement that Seek is “pleased to be supporting Sidekicker in its next phase of growth”.
“We are strong believers in Sidekicker’s strategy, innovative solution set, and are excited to support the team as Sidekicker continues its growth journey,” he added.
The key to this partnership, says Bull, is the alignment of values between both companies. Sidekicker’s mission is to change how traditional labour hire operates and the team knows “that will take a long time”, says Bull, and Seek “think[s] about trends in the market over a long-term horizon”.
“We knew at the beginning when they first came on board as an investor that they think about the market in a [long-term] way, and we want to work with someone that thinks that way,” she added.
The Seek team are also “experts in the labour market”, which creates a natural fit, explains Bull, but Sidekicker has been able to maintain its independence and autonomy too.
“It gives us the opportunity to create our own DNA and culture, while moving fast with strategic backing,” she said.