The coronavirus crisis has left scores of Aussies out of work. Picture: John Feder/The Australian
The coronavirus crisis has left scores of Aussies out of work. Picture: John Feder/The Australian

How to find a new job ‘within 72 hours’

Heather Loxley had been an area manager at Politix Menswear for eight months when the coronavirus pandemic struck.

The brand is owned by the Country Road Group, which was forced to stand down staff due to the unprecedented shutdown period sparked by the virus.

That meant Ms Loxley was one of thousands of Australians who suddenly found themselves out of work - but within days she had been redeployed into another role after registering her interest with Hatch Exchange.

She is now working at a virtual contact centre helping people with COVID-19 questions, a position she describes as "amazing".

"There was definitely no lag time between jobs which was pretty amazing - it meant I could breathe and it gave me a lot of comfort," she said in a video shared by Hatch Exchange co-founder Adam Jacobs on LinkedIn.

"Reaching out takes courage … but people are given amazing opportunities to sustain work which is great for their financial needs and also their mental needs."

There were long lines at Centrelink before the strict lockdown measures were introduced. Picture: John Feder/The Australian
There were long lines at Centrelink before the strict lockdown measures were introduced. Picture: John Feder/The Australian

Mr Jacobs was also one of the co-founders of online fashion juggernaut The Iconic back in 2011, and he co-founded Hatch Exchange in 2017, although it has only been operating for two weeks.

The company's website explains the initiative is "building a future where all people find and do meaningful work" and that it initially centred on "creating opportunity for students to do meaningful paid work while they study".

But as the coronavirus crisis decimates the economy and forces countless Australians out of their jobs, Hatch Exchange has switched its focus and is now helping businesses across the country to quickly hire workers who have been stood down as a result of COVID-19.

"Hiring businesses can temporarily engage experienced workers for frontline or professional roles, keeping them employed until they can return to their original company," the website explains.

Taking to professional networking site LinkedIn yesterday, Mr Jacobs said that in the past fortnight, almost 7000 stood down staff from more than 70 companies had registered on Hatch Exchange.

Those workers came from household-name companies including Qantas, Virgin Australia, Country Road Group, Flight Centre Travel Group, Cotton On Group, Merivale and Marriott International, which is unsurprising given the travel, hospitality and retail industries are among the hardest hit so far.

Adam Jacobs took to LinkedIn to reveal Hatch Exchange’s success.
Adam Jacobs took to LinkedIn to reveal Hatch Exchange’s success.

According to Mr Jacobs, many of those 7000 employees hold "deep experience in customer support and digital skillsets", with 40 per cent hailing from NSW, half having more than five years of experience behind them and two-thirds being stood down from a permanent role.

He added that more than 90 per cent were "keen to do something new with their skills".

So far, more than 350 people had been "successfully redeployed into critical roles in growing customer support, data, digital, logistics teams within Government, large employers, and SMBs".

"After a huge effort by Hatch's design and tech team, we can now match and place thousands of stood-down staff per week to hiring organisations within 72 hours," he posted.

"We know work won't look the same anymore. We also know impacted Australians are talented and adaptive. This moment gives you the opportunity to draw on that adaptiveness. "This is not only relevant for the current crisis but for the years to come. I congratulate all businesses taking advantage of that opportunity."

Hatch's success comes as the federal treasury revealed it expects the jobless rate to reach 10 per cent in the June quarter, which means 1.4 million Australians will be out of work.

It's a sharp increase from the 5.1 per cent the country enjoyed before the pandemic hit, leading to mass shutdowns in a bid to flatten the curve.

So far, more than 800,000 companies have also registered for the Government's JobKeeper wage subsidy program.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the rising jobless rate as "absolutely heartbreaking", but said the government's stimulus measures would help to soften the blow.

"The JobKeeper program means we'll be able to limit that devastation," he told Nine this morning.

"We've also got the doubling of the JobSeeker program, which means that those who do find themselves unemployed will be able to gain access to support that we've never seen in this country before."

Originally published as How to find a new job 'within 72 hours'