One trend which is worth noting is the trend seems to be towards casual, part-time or contracted HSE staff as opposed to the full time salaried employees.
Many HSE professionals are finding that as soon as a new owner or company takes over a business, the training and development group and the HSE teams are decreased as they are seen as having no immediate bottom line effect on the business. The disappointing thing is that if you add the cost of employment such as payroll tax, superannuation and holidays onto Australian professional salaries, then for the first time it is less expensive to employ consultants than to employ internal staff. The external consultants have directly applicable skills, are not paid over Christmas and slow periods, generally do not need to be managed closely as they have a clear outcome and having no on-going work if the performance is below expectations. There are real advantages for young graduates to have full time permanent work however there are many structural barriers to employing staff in this way. What happens over 2015 will be very interesting. While the newspapers are somewhat gloomy, there are some promising signs with lower interest rates and cheaper fuel taking some cost pressures off business.
Peter Attwood - CEO