Regardless of the State you’re based in, lockdown is a tough experience that has dramatically reduced staffing levels for some businesses. While we know about the hard-hit sectors like hospitality and recreation, what about the sectors that aren’t as adversely impacted during a lockdown?

At foundU, we have over 400 customers working in a truly varied range of industries. You name it and we probably have a customer working in that sector.

Using six months of user data, we were able to analyse the customers and sectors with the least staff fluctuation pre, during and through the easing of lockdowns.

Before we begin, there are obviously still lock-downs of varying degrees by State – we are only looking for an average trend and interested in comparing the strictest parts of lockdown around April/May to more ‘normal’ times.

The top three sectors were:

Rental and Real Estate
@ 6% fluctuation in staffing levels

This is obviously a surprising result with most people thinking that with a lowering of incomes there would be less renting and house buying.

This didn’t seem to be the case with our real estate customers staying incredibly stable during the worst of lockdown.

A couple of possible reasons this could be attributed to:

1) Real estate is a cyclical industry and agents are used to highs and lows.

2) The effect of the pandemic has not fully impacted the market yet. JobKeeper is still ongoing and we are yet to see the worst of the economic effects.

3) Everyone needs housing regardless of a global pandemic and there was less movement than expected.

4) Real estate customers are well organised and applied for JobKeeper early if they required support.

Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services
@ 8% fluctuation in staffing levels

This will come as no surprise with the utilities sector seeing a small dip in staff levels. While 8% is nearly 1 in 10 staff not working a shift (which would be noticeable), overall, they still did well.

We won’t dig too deep into the reasons for the small fluctuation (everyone needs utilities), but for those utility customers that did see reduced staffing levels, this could be attributed to customers who have a more enterprise client base who moved their staff to work-from-home arrangements (meaning no serviced office).

Wholesale Trade
@ 13% fluctuation in staffing levels

Rounding out our top three and the first to push past 10% fluctuation is wholesale trade. This sector remained fairly stable with a dip at the beginning of lockdown but a relatively quick recovery.

Sector success in this area was heavily dependent on who wholesale traders have as clients. If they have relationships with relatively stable clients, there is less staff level fluctuation.

If you wanted to be more granular with the data, you could break it down by wholesale trade client type.

The Future

While there were no great surprises on this list (apart from maybe real estate), the next six months will have an interesting effect on the numbers.

Depending on lockdown severity and length of JobKeeper, real estate may see a higher swing in staff levels. A similar story with wholesale trade – if we’re yet to see the worst of the economic effects from coronavirus, then we’re yet to see the full extent of staffing level changes.

The only true winner may be the utilities sector with people needing to keep the lights on in their home office, stay connected for Zoom meetings and avoid calls by going to the toilet.

The overall message though is one of positivity! While we won’t examine the worst fluctuations, all sectors had an incredibly strong bounce back when lockdowns eased in their State. Some went beyond pre-coronavirus staff levels and most returned quickly to full staff.

While we don’t have a crystal ball, stay positive and believe that Australia is doing relatively well during the pandemic and can be a global success story once (fingers crossed) this is all over.

If you want to see some of customers in action across a range of sectors, click here to see all our case studies (including some customers saving 70% on their payroll processing time).

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