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That time we worried computers were stealing our jobs

Perth business coach

Do you remember when self-serve check outs in the grocery store replaced your friendly check out human?

When Netflix closed down your local Video Ezy?

When online banking deleted the need for real life tellers?

Google replaced doctors (ba ha ha).

Was there a family in Australia that didn’t utter the words “soon there’ll be no bloody jobs left for humans” – around the back-yard BBQ with a coupla bush chooks.

I’m not gonna lie I felt a certain smugness over owning a hair salon for 14 years. Robots can’t give haircuts or apply a root fade……..I felt untouchable.


2022 and you can’t find a bloody human in site to fill the ever increasing “staff wanted” listings on the Seek ads no one can afford to keep running for months…… and months…….and months…… at a time. Because ya know…..$14 lettuce and NO STAFF!!!

And how quickly this arrived…………. And with all due respect –“I told you so”.

I’ve had the privilege of operating a business when the GFC hit around 2008 – 2009. I’ve learnt to ‘sleep with one eye open’ when it comes to a business that is experiencing ‘unprecedented’ highs.

However, I’m not sure any of us were quite prepared for the whole ‘no staff’ thingy.

For me, struggling to find staff isn’t new. The hair and beauty industry have always battled finding staff. It’s an industry where so many set up shop from home solo or rent a chair and don’t hire or train up new apprentices. Hence taking from the industry and not giving back. Not saying that’s right or wrong, but it is the reality.

And look to be clear, this article is written from the POV (that’s a super cool millennial way of saying point of you – duh!) of a Perth business coach and my daily chats with women all over Australia.

So what is the solution for the whole no staff thingy going on? Here’s all I’ve got for you;

  1. Public shaming of anyone not getting a job purely because they CBF
  2. Early release of prisoners on the condition they re enter the workforce (can you be under work arrest?)
  3. Same thing as no 2 but for asylum seekers
  4. Put the pensioners to work
  5. Same as no 4 but maybe children?
  6. Tighten up on the conditions of unemployment benefits

Whilst I’m only joking about some of those suggestions, I literally have no idea how this problem is solved and I feel for the business owners out there that are struggling right now as a result of no staff. And sadly the only advice I have is this;

  • Love the staff you have sick so they don’t want to leave. This isn’t new. Creating a desirable workplace for your team should always be a priority. And this boils right down to you and your core values. The ‘vibe’ of your workplace comes from you. So if you’re burnt out and ‘over it’, bloody fair enough but pull yourself together and keep your existing team strong. And give a shit about a higher purpose and share it with your team.
  • Never stop looking for new staff members. Pop it in your email marketing, on your socials or incentivise your current staff – think of outside the box solutions. Ever heard of a finders fee? One add on Seek ain’t gonna cut it. You need to be ruthless in your searching endeavours.
  • Communicate with your clients. Be honest with your customers. When you know that perhaps you’re not delivering on a level that you want – own it. Say sorry, say thank you for being patient, be human and yes some people will still be jerks but for the most part, people will be forgiving.
  • Love your existing clients sick. I know, you’re tired. You’re working 24/7 to make up for the lack in staff and all the ‘extra’ can get put on the backburner. But if you don’t continue to make your clients feel loved, they won’t be there when things turn and you have the staff you need. Love the shit out of your clients, without them, you have no business to worry about.

Like most things I write, this is not profound. Just part of a bigger conversation which hopefully can spark some more sensible solutions from those wiser than I.

About the author

I’m Elsa Mitchell and I help women in business make more money by getting the clarity they need, developing the community they need and implementing the foundations they need in order to make the impact they want.

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