By Dean Long, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Federation of Travel Agents
AS AFTA Chair Tom Manwaring detailed in our Annual Report, the greatest risk we are facing as we recover from the depths of COVID-19 is the burnout of our workforce as well as the challenge of attracting people back to the industry. Last month AFTA held its first National Taskforce for Workforce and Careers with the leaders of our Sector. This Taskforce is reviewing our entire workforce and careers approach, what we do well, what we need to improve and what is the role of Government.
This is an important analysis that we need to undertake because while we have shortages, we also have great successes. Our Sector has one of the highest female participation rates in the professional services sector. Our cultures have adapted, and our processes that are flexible and supportive have allowed us to achieve this impressive rate of participation. However, we have also had some shortage of workers well before the pandemic crushed our sector.
While in Canberra last week, AFTA continued working with the Federal Treasury Jobs Summit and Employment White Paper Taskforce to show case how what we do can be implemented across the economy. As AFTA has been calling for long before I became CEO, there must be a robust Outbound Sector for there to be a Thriving Domestic Tourism Industry. Workforce and career development are no different. As leaders in this space, we have an important role in improving economy-wide job outcomes for women. As we assist in improving these outcomes we are also demonstrating where the shortcomings in our pathways are and the measures Government can bring to assist in solving these. We also showcase the measures so many of you as independents, branded, corporate, tour operators or wholesalers are doing to attract people to our Sector.
I am proud to be representing the Sector as we take a holistic approach in assisting to improve outcomes for women and identify what needs to be changed to address our systemic issues. If the last two years have taught anyone anything it’s that in undertaking Government advocacy, approaches must change and new solutions delivered.