Telstra adds 2,500 temporary jobs to its workforce to help with COVID-19

After announcing a few weeks ago that it was hiring 1,000 temporary contact center employees across six sites in Australia, Telstra wants to bring on an additional 2,500 temporary employees to help it combat the effects of the coronavirus.

Telstra said the new jobs would be a mix of contact center and "back of house" specialist roles across customer service, order provisioning and testing, and team leaders. Telstra said it's targeting people in Newcastle, Perth and Sydney, but most of the new temporary jobs will be flexible due to work from home (WFH) arrangements, so the telco is "open to hiring more from regional Australia," said Telstra's Alex Badenoch, group executive for transformation, communications and people,  in a blog post.

Badenoch said some of the 2,500 temporary employees will be directly employed by Telstra while others will be employed by its partners in Australia "so we can get people on board as quickly as possible for our customers."

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Telstra had more than 19,000 employees apply a few weeks ago when it first announced the 1,000 temporary job openings.

"We knew there would be demand, but we didn’t anticipate having more than 19,000 people apply," Badenoch said. "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."

Telstra is processing, interviewing and making offers to some of the 19,000 applicants after first using an artificial intelligence program with an algorithm it created for specific roles.

Badenoch said Telstra would also be reaching out to its alumni network for people that have specific technical skills, including network engineering, software engineering, data and analytics.

Telstra is also shuffling its current employees to other areas, including having field technicians working at its contact centers. Telstra is also having its store employees interact with customers through its digital messaging service to help process digital orders and to check with small business customers to see if they need help with their connectivity or services.