Why The Australian Human Resources Sector can attract but not Retain Skilled Labor Summary of the Central Argument
In order to understand the central in this article, it is imperative to review the matters precipitating the gist of the central argument. In this respect, the resources sector in Australia is faced with numerous challenges pertaining to attraction and consequent retention of employees. Challenges like these can have debilitating effects on the human resources sector in an economy. When an institution attracts skilled labor, it is important for the institution to retain the labor in order to benefit from the high skills.
The Australian Human Resources sector was facing steep challenges of this sort. They are characterized by shortage of skills because of long working hours and the remote locations of industries. Additionally, the sector is challenged but he uncertainty caused by changes in the Australian federal government that occurred in 2007, especially the legislation that enacted the fair work employment relations. Owing to this, the author seeks to analyze the perceptions of senior managers regarding the factors that influence how institutions attract and retain employees. This article reports the findings of a survey carried out in 2009 (Hutchings, De Cieri & Shea., 2011).
The methodology used in the study is the survey methodology. The survey methodology is very effective when large populations are to be studied, and the researcher needs to make statistical inferences concerning the study population. The study used the comprehensive sample of 397 Australian organizations from the online database from where the samples were to be acquired. The survey questions were sent through mail to the senior human resource managers in these organizations. This method of administering the questionnaires assumes that the potential respondent will fill the questionnaire and remit it to the researcher.
The challenges of this method are that it sometimes results in low response rates as potential respondents may not fill the questionnaires. Additionally, one cannot guarantee that the questionnaires were filled by the intended person. For instance, the senior human resource manager in this case might delegate the task to his subordinates. However, the method is appropriate when a large number of respondents are to be reached. The method is also cheaper because it does not require the researcher to be physically present during the filling of the questionnaire.
The researcher considered the time when the survey questions were sent to the senior human resource managers (Hutchings, De Cieri & Shea., 2011). The researcher anticipated that the survey questions would not be prioritized because of preoccupation with financial matters in the organization. To remedy this and hopefully improve the response rate, the researcher sent reminders to the respondents. This is the downside of this method of administering the questionnaire. Using reminders is appropriate, although it is limited by the number of reminders one can send before being regarded as inappropriately aggressive.
Critical Analysis of Results and Findings
The researcher must have been aware of the shortcomings of the methodology used in the study. When choosing the methodology in a study, it is important to consider how each aspect of the methodology affects the results of the study. As espoused earlier, using the mail service to administer questionnaires is limiting in that the response rate might be low, especially if the gist of the study is not a priority for the respondent.
A more appropriate method of administering the questionnaires for this study would have been through oral interviews performed by research assistants. This would have resulted in a high response rate. A low response rate affects the ability of the researcher to make statistical inferences and also the generalizability of the results (Boselie, Dietz & Boon, 2005, Pp. 72)
The analysis of the results of the study was done in regards to four research questions. In terms of the challenges the workplace, the study found that the biggest challenge at the workplace was changes in workplace legislation. Changes in workplace legislation can results in the exodus of employees, especially if new legislations are not favorable to the employees. Nonetheless, even if the respondents found this to be the most concerning issue (77%), it is to be noted that it does not cause the issues facing the human resources sectors exclusively (Hutchings, De Cieri & Shea., 2011).
Other issues precipitate to cause the challenges in the sector. The researcher found that some of the issues were found to be of concern in the short-term. However, and in consideration of the fact that the sector is already faced with challenges of attracting and retaining skilled labor, it is arguable that such concerns if not remedied will serve to pose more challenges to the sector in future. In terms of the strategies used to attract and retain employees, the respondents had a myriad of strategies listed. On paper, most of these strategies should have commendable results in terms of attracting and retaining employees.
The fact that this is not the case calls for scrutiny in the overall corporate strategy of organizations. For instance improved remuneration was one of the strategies highlighted by many respondents. When employed exclusively, this strategy can attract many skilled laborers. After all, workers want to earn money. However, when applied exclusively, this strategy will not retain employees. This is especially because one of the challenges facing the human resources sector is the remote locations of the industries and long working hours. Work life balance is a very important factor influencing the ability of an organization to retain its employees. More precisely, it is a more potent factor, even with lesser remuneration.
In terms of the changes that are requisite to retaining employees, the respondents listed many proposed changes. This was the essence of the study; to find out their perspectives. While all these changes were feasible in matter of speaking, it is hardly possible for an organization to implement all of them. This is in the backdrop of the fact that the challenges of human resource are enduring. The question is what is to be done to alleviate the effects of the challenges? The organizational culture of any institution has a very significant influence in determine whether the said organization can retain its employees (Simons, Shadur & Kienzle, 1999, Pp. 20). Top on the list of any changes that any organization implements in order to attract and retain its employees should be improving the organizational culture.
Many institutions, within and without Australian are faced by the uphill task of attracting and retaining employees. An organization that keeps losing its employees to other organization should want to know why this is the case. Since many human resource managers may not investigate the issue, studies like these seek to fill the gap in information. The concept behind the study is commendable. However, the flaws in the methodology resulted in a low response rate. Nonetheless, the perspectives derived from the study can but should not be employed blindly and in exclusion.
Boselie P, Dietz G and Boon C (2005) Commonalities and contradictions in HRM and performance research. Human Resource Management Journal 15(3): 67–94.
Hutchings, K., De Cieri, H., Shea., T (2011) Employee attraction and retention in the Australian resources sector, Journal of Industrial Relations 53(1) pp.83-101.
Simons R, Shadur M and Kienzle R (1999) Explanations for the relationship between human resource practices and organisational strategy in the Australian mining industry. International Journal of Employment Studies 7(1): 17–32.