Preparing for the good times

Written by: Marie-Claude Brown | CEO Townsville Chamber | August 2, 2017

Most businesses prepare for hard times. We make plans, put money aside for rainy days, spread our risks, and monitor our costs. We do the hard yards when times are tough and so does our staff.

Now that there are murmurs of recovery in the air, is your business ready for the good times?

Good times bring about different types of risks as more opportunities become available. One such risk is that of losing critical staff.

What would happen to your bottom line if an employee with years of experience essential to your organisation leaves before you have fully recovered from the downturn? What if a few of your critical staff were thinking of doing the same?


“Now is the time to invest in the talent critical to your organisation.”


During the hardship of the past few years, the job market benefited employers. With fewer jobs available, many employees chose to stay put rather than risk prolonged unemployment. As a result, employers benefited from large pools of skilled candidates willing to trade motivation, rewards, or career pathways in exchange for a regular income.

As North Queensland’s economy normalises, the pendulum of the job market is starting to swing in favour of employees. Unhappy staff are scouting employment sites in search of greener pastures.

The recent release of the Census Regional Data confirmed over 9,000 people left the area in the past two years, including workers in search of employment. Only a small percentage of this skilled labour will return to Townsville when large projects like the Stadium, the Port expansion or the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor (TEARC) start.

Those projects, the development of the Galilea mining Basin, and other emerging opportunities will require skilled workers. While it is unlikely salaries will rise to the dizzy heights seen during the mining boom, employees who feel unloved by their current employers will find it easier to find appreciation elsewhere.

Now, before things get better, is the time to invest in the talent critical to your organisation. Revise position descriptions; review salaries and bonus schemes; develop opportunities for your critical staff.

Aspects other than money also have value. Things such as training, career pathways, flexible working conditions, and workplace culture add weight to any job consideration.

Engage your staff now or risk losing talent critical to your business’ recovery.

Success North Queensland