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Workplace shuffle means Brisbane staff now demand Sydney salaries

Business

COVID has brought a new and expensive reality for Brisbane employers.

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The work-from-anywhere shift means companies were having to compete for staff and pay the higher wages of Sydney, Melbourne and even the US, according to IntelliHR founder and managing director Rob Bromage.

“The market forces for talent, particularly in the IT sector are particularly aggressive,’’ he said.

“The world has changed in terms of the marketplace, Brisbane is now susceptible to Melbourne and Sydney salaries and even salaries in the US.

“The world has opened up to people for different job opportunities. We have seen people here who were earning $180,000 who can pick up $400,000 in the US now for the same job. 

“We have seen Brisbane salaries in particular have to very quickly level up to the Sydney salaries. There has been a really quick change in how business have to protect their position and so there is a really big focus on their practices and processes.

“The way businesses have to adapt their proposition to their existing staff they really have to focus on that and how they build a culture, how they nurture a culture, how they onboard people is more important than ever.’’

The pandemic sped things up for IntelliHR which is a software as a service company providing data which allows employers to manage teams of people who aren’t working in the same physical location.

Bromage describes it as an end-to-end people management platform for business.

Its fourth quarter was a record. It broke through the $1 million mark for new contracted business. Cash receipts were up 139 per cent and its offshore business boomed, but still investors don’t seem to grasp the success of the company in the same way they have other tech juniors. IntelliHR’s share price has more than halved since the start of the year, despite strong performances.

When asked if investors “get’’ the company, Bromage said: “I don’t think so.

“We listed when we were pre-revenue which at the time here in Brisbane that was the best access to capital. I wish we had followed the Go1 path of access to capital. They have really done well.

“SaS in the Australian market is still not well understood. In particular HR software but there are a lot more emerging companies now allowing investors to make some direct comparisons.’’

Someone who does get the company is tech entrepreneur Bevan Slattery who came on board last year with a $2.5 million stake in the company

“Bevan changed the world for us,’’ Bromage said.

“He said he had been watching us for five years as if we were swimming for a wave and now we are riding a Covid tsunami.’’

He said when COVID hit, employers could not “see’’ their staff any more and it created a shift in how leaders had to deal with employees. For many it was the first time they had to deal with an employees’ whole life, which included their families and other responsibilities.

“That sent home some new realities for businesses worldwide and the focus on wellness became intense,’’ he said.

“The change now is to fit policies and processes to how people are now working.’’

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