Skip to main content

By Jane Lambert, Regional Managing Director APAC at ActiveOps

Where once we had ‘The Great Resignation’, now we are facing what some in Australia have branded ‘The Great Sacking’.

The challenges for Australian banking operations

While that term might be a touch dramatic, the current wave of Australian job losses is extending a trend seen in other parts of the world where economic uncertainty, higher inflation and a cost-of-living crisis are weighing on bank operations teams. As with past recessions, Australia tends to lag other regions, in part because the economy has proved resilient.

Yet the job losses are also shining a spotlight on two other trends in Australia: the country’s COVID-era hiring practices and the impact of artificial intelligence and digitization on the future of work.

As the pandemic raged and workers reassessed their career options, businesses were forced to pay much higher salaries to entice staff – often paying way over the going rate. At the time, organizations had little choice but to pay up, but now as cost pressures mount, many are responding by cutting headcount.

The squeeze on finances is also coming at a time when interest around AI and digitization is accelerating, with automation reducing the need for certain roles. In addition, Australian organizations have renewed outsourcing jobs that had been brought back in-house during the pandemic. And there is growing unease about hybrid working policies as some business leaders order staff to return to the office, putting further strain on staff morale.

The big question now is what impact these job losses are going to have on organizations in the region. The OpsTracker data shows Australian banks are outperforming other regions, with consistent control and agility levels. Over the next quarter we will see whether this downsizing trend has a material impact on performance or whether those agility levels are robust enough to maintain service levels with reduced headcount.

The squeeze on finances is also coming at a time when interest around AI and digitization is accelerating, with automation reducing the need for certain roles. In addition, Australian organizations have renewed outsourcing jobs that had been brought back in-house during the pandemic. And there is growing unease about hybrid working policies as some business leaders order staff to return to the office, putting further strain on staff morale.

The big question now is what impact these job losses are going to have on organizations in the region. The OpsTracker data shows Australian banks are outperforming other regions, with consistent control and agility levels. Over the next quarter we will see whether this downsizing trend has a material impact on performance or whether those agility levels are robust enough to maintain service levels with reduced headcount.

If ops leaders don’t have a cross-skilling strategy, banks will struggle as ops teams are forced to do more with even less.

Jane Lambert
Regional Managing Director APAC at ActiveOps

The critical role of data

This is where technology plays a key role and data is critical. If banks start chopping headcount without the right technology to support decision making, then chances are backlogs (in other words, too much work in progress) will grow and performance will decline, impacting customer experience.

While the right amount of work in progress can be a good thing, allowing banks to smooth out capacity efficiently and reduce over-servicing, if not managed, banks may find themselves with more work than they can handle. This typically results in a fresh recruitment drive to get work in progress back on track.

All of this can be avoided with good planning tools and the right data, allowing banks to optimize staffing levels. It also ensures they can maintain the skills and agility levels needed to meet inbound work volumes, without work getting stuck in silos because only a handful of specialists remain who can perform certain tasks.

If ops leaders don’t have a cross-skilling strategy in their business or they don’t have visibility around what percentage of a particular skillset they need, then those banks will struggle as the effects of The Great Sacking linger and ops teams are forced to do more with even less.

Get your data in order

There is a recipe for success when it comes to improving operational performance, but at the heart of that is good decision intelligence that helps ops leaders to pull the right levers to optimize resources. Getting your data in order is key for your ops teams to achieve this so you can generate the insights needed to inform better decision making and produce consistent performance gains. Our latest OpsTracker Q3 report gives you further insights on operational performance around the world and how to improve.

Related blog posts

Blog
July 3, 2024

Data disasters and decision paralysis: what needs to change for leaders in financial services

Press release
June 19, 2024

Sleepwalking into a disaster? Decision paralysis is holding back Australian financial service operations

Press release
June 18, 2024

Sleepwalking into a disaster? Finance operations leaders think they’re advanced in AI, but struggle to make decisions