A GEELONG HR leader is expecting some businesses to start emerging from COVID-19 hibernation and adapt to a new way of working.

While the hardest hit industries are expected to continue to rely on the extended JobKeeper lifeline, Harvest Talent Recruitment and People Solutions director, Maree Herath said there were signs some businesses were “coming out” and moving forward.

She said those that hit “pause” as the pandemic was unfolding a few months ago were now starting to return to business and in future may not qualify for ongoing JobKeeper support, which requires a 30 per cent drop in revenue.

“At the height of the pandemic, the future was uncertain but now there are organisations that are getting back to business in the COVID world, she said.

In professionals services, life is continuing.

“Even though they may have qualified for JobKeeper initially, many professional services are actually going back to business,” Ms Herath said.

She said that at the end of financial year all accounting firms had resumed work.

“It’s a new way of doing business, a new way of interacting with their clients, but many organisations are actually getting back to business and their revenue will increase beyond that threshold,” she said.

But the extension to JobKeeper would continue to be vital to businesses in retail, hospitality, tourism, leisure, events and travel.

“They are nowhere near back to the level that they were, so they are going to need the JobKeeper to stay and remain viable,” she said.

Among the challenges Ms Herath said other sectors were facing was the delayed impact of COVID-19 on the building and construction industry which may see some firms qualify in the third and fourth quarters for JobKeeper when they had not previously, and the tertiary education sector not being eligible for JobKeeper.

“I think the construction market will dip further, there’s not enough of a stimulus and definitely not the home buyers that are going to come out of the pandemic,” she said.

She said it was hard to know how sole operators on JobKeeper might respond to the extension as many could continue to meet the eligibility criteria if that is what they chose to do.


Maree Herath is the director of Harvest Talent Recruitment & People Solutions. 

David Cairns. Geelong Advertiser, 27th July, 2020

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