July 11, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

Adelaide-based Novatech Creative Event Technology has given all of its staff – casuals included – an above-inflation pay rise as well as implementing new pay allowances and restarting other employee perks to help retain and attract new staff.

The developments at Novatech follow a significant exodus of more experienced technical staff during the pandemic and take into account competition for staff with larger Australian capital cities and increased cost-of-living pressures as well as helping staff to get match-fit for event work following years of reduced activity.

The production company has introduced several additional allowances for staff, providing extra compensation for working onsite at events, leading a team and working additional hours. The business has also changed its time off in lieu policy to allow staff to be paid for seven extra hours each week before TOIL kicks in.

“We were looking at the spiralling costs of living and ran some numbers,” says Novatech’s managing director, Leko Novakovic.

“We did some modelling. We took the standard example of a salaried employee that does a 50-hour week, some on-site, and some at HQ. In this example, the employee gets paid an extra seven hours before TOIL, did 20 hours as a Team Leader, and 20 on-site hours. That amounts to almost 40 per cent more take-home pay than an average week.”

The new allowances are also designed to incentivise Novotech’s office and warehouse staff to take on onsite event work.

“There’s two scenarios when the tech or office staff, who often have come from production backgrounds, put their hands up for gigs,” says Novakovic.

“The first is when it’s an act that they really love that’s performing, and the other is when we’ve asked them because we really need the bodies on the job. We feel they should be rewarded for that in both cases.”

Novatech has also restarted other employee benefit activities which were paused during the first two years of the pandemic, including professional development training courses and personal training for the team to help them manage the return to the company’s busier event schedule.

“We’ve realised we’re not all gig-fit again yet, so we’ve got a personal trainer coming in. After a couple of group sessions, they’ll be running individual assessments and giving out personalised training plans. In addition, we’ve been running mindfulness courses which have had great take-up,” says Novakovic.

In a bid to attract new staff, the business also has a bonus of up to $4,500 for existing staff members who refer someone for a role which leads to a new hire.

Novatech says the increased pay and other measures won’t be passed on to their clients.

Novakovic believes it’s important to share the company’s approach with the wider industry in hopes it may bring some talent back into the events sphere.

“With what we’ve put in place, obviously our crew stand to benefit,” says Novakovic.

“But we’re sharing what we’ve done so the industry as a whole can look at adopting the same practices. If conditions and benefits like these are on offer, maybe some of the knowledge and skills that have left the industry will come back.

“And being proudly SA-based, we’re not being shy in saying that relocating to Adelaide and working for Novatech gives techs the opportunity to work on some of Australia’s leading events, including interstate tours, while living in hassle-free and cost-effective Adelaide.”