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Telstra adds 2,500 more roles to temp workforce amid COVID-19 disruption

On top of the 1,000 new temp roles already announced

Telstra is gearing up to bring on another 2,500 temporary roles in addition to the 1,000 new temporary contractors it previously said it would hire as it works to deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to Telstra's transformation, communications and people group executive Alex Badenoch, the additional 2,500 temporary roles are opening up to help better serve the company’s customers and play a part in supporting employment in Australia during "this unprecedented time". 

“This is on top of the 1,000 people we’re already recruiting, as well as other ways we’re mobilising our workforce to support our customer needs,” Badenock said in a blog post.

On 20 March, Telstra CEO Andy Penn said the company would recruit an additional 1,000 temporary contractors locally to help manage call centre volumes and better serve its customers “during this time”.

Penn said Telstra would also freeze its headcount reduction program for six months as the coronavirus pandemic creates unprecedented demand on its network and services.

The move to recruit more staff comes as lockdowns aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19 in other regions, including the Philippines and India -- both hotspots for the offshore call centre and support operations of local organisations, Telstra included -- put pressure on the domestic support operations of some companies. 

With the local jobs market also in flux due to the ongoing pandemic, more than 19,000 people have applied for the initial wave of temp roles on offer, according to Badenock.

So overwhelming was the response that Telstra has been using artificial intelligence technology and an algorithm programmed specifically for the recruitment process to get through the applicants.

“This shows there’s plenty of talent in the market and we’ve started to welcome some new team members with more to join us over the coming weeks,” she said. “Now, we’ll bring on another 2,500 people and in more locations. 

“Some of these roles will be directly employed by Telstra and others by our partners in Australia so we can get people on board as quickly as possible for our customers,” she added.

According to Badenock, the new jobs will be a mix of contact centre and back of house specialist roles covering a range of activity including customer service, order provisioning and testing, as well as team leaders. 

“In addition to the locations already advertised, we’re also looking for people in Newcastle, Perth and Sydney. But a lot of these roles will be flexible as many of our new recruits will be working from home so we’re absolutely open to having more people in regional Australia,” Badenock said. 

She added that Telstra is also reaching out to its alumni network for members who have some of the specific technical skills the telco needs at present, such as network engineering, software engineering, data and analytics.