Food and grocery delivery aside, it may be fair to say that there is no market the Australian startup sector is dedicating more time and resources to than recruitment. From OneShift to Workible, TalentVine to Gooroo, there seems to be a specific platform dedicated to solving each and every problem one could think of in the recruitment process.
The latest to launch is Workfast, founded by Tim Nieuwenhuis. Based in Sydney, Workfast is an online temp agency looking to apply the on-demand model to work, connecting employers to qualified temps at short notice.
Like all good ideas, Nieuwenhuis said, Workfast was born out of necessity while working on previous businesses including ecommerce platform Dugg.com.au and Zupply.
“We have several businesses and were always needing supplemental staff to fill positions due to annual leave, sickness or people leaving the company. Often these positions don’t get filled and this puts added stress on the other employees, which have to take on extra work,” he explained.
With the tech background, Nieuwenhuis decided to work on a way to automate the process, and Workfast was born.
The Workfast platform states that the service is generally 30 percent cheaper than a traditional temp agency, which Nieuwenhuis explained is possible as the software takes care of much of the processes that an agency would manually do: employers can search for and contact workers based on specific criteria or rankings, while workers can also search and bid for jobs.
However, Nieuwenhuis said workers will get paid the same, if not more than if going through a traditional agency.
“To create a fantastic smooth software solution, we needed to add payments and measures for Fair Work compliance. This of course complicated the processes, though we still had to keep it simple and fast. We added measures such as minimum hourly rates, and minimum hours allowed to work,” Nieuwenhuis said.
Employers can find two types of workers on Workfast, contractors with their own ABN, and workers employed by Workfast directly. For employers, Nieuwenhuis said the end result is the same in that they are getting the same quality of worker; some workers, meanwhile, prefer to work as contractors and some as employees.
The contractors are responsible for their own insurance and are able to negotiate their own rate of pay, while Workfast employees are fully covered under Fair Work and National Employment Standards, working for award rates.
“Employers like the flexibility of choosing and it often depends on the type of work. Our service fee is different for ABN holders and Workfast employees to make sure they earn enough to cover superannuation and insurances. When hiring workers everything is clearly stated on who you are hiring and the costs,” Nieuwenhuis said.
The Workfast system calculates all for both employers and workers, with payments made through the platform immediately after a shift has been completed. Following a shift, employers will be asked to give workers a star rating and a personal review, with ratings then contributing to a worker’s search ranking on the platform and their position in negotiating their rate.
The startup reports that since placement of workers began three months ago it has done $700,000 in business, averaging 10 to 15 new worker placements a day. It began in the typical shift-based industries, such as warehousing and hospitality, and is now moving into events and retail heading into the Christmas season. It also has a team of office admin workers.
“Our workers are generally highly skilled and many are looking for extra work to pay for a holiday or save for a house, so workplaces often enjoy having a skilled knowledgeable worker that can fill in as they are needed,” Nieuwenhuis said.
The startup is placing jobs Australia-wide, with Nieuwenhuis saying it has surprisingly found a significant demand in rural areas.
The market opportunity for the startup going forward is significant: casuals make up almost 24 percent of Australia’s workforce, while the temp industry itself is worth $19 billion.
Of course, the size of the industry means there are hundreds of players trying to corner it already, from traditional agencies to startups – Sydney startup Work Ninja, for example, looks to help hospitality businesses find workers on demand.
However, Nieuwenhuis is confident Workfast is offering a new solution. To capitalise on the market opportunity, Nieuwenhuis said the startup, currently self funded, may look for partners to help it expand into new verticals.
Image: Tim Nieuwenhuis. Source: Supplied.