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Skills Shortages

Posted on September 20, 2021 by Roslyn Little

With Australia’s border closures preventing the arrival of technical and skilled workers from overseas into the country, businesses are now having to fight for available resources and things are about to get tougher for small businesses, according to Ms Newbound, head of business services firm Accuratus.

“This is especially evident in tourism and hospitality where our clients are being hit hard by this shortage and unable to fill shifts in wineries and restaurants,” Ms Newbound said.

“Many skilled workers are now able to name their price as the employment market heats up. Small businesses, already impacted by lockdowns, are finding it hard to compete against larger firms with bigger budgets.”

For local employees, the flexibility of working from home since the beginning of the pandemic has created a resistance to return to pre-COVID work arrangements.

Ms Newbound noted that travelling to and from work, paying exorbitant parking fees, and quite simply not being able to balance home and work to meet the growing demands of a busy life are not attractive options when there are now alternatives available.

“Businesses, irrespective of size, are losing staff and critical business knowledge at the same time,” she said.

The local employee resistance and overseas employee shortage are forecast by Accuratus to be one of the highest business risks, across all industries, in 2022.

According to Ms Newbound, while there are some things businesses can do to create a team culture that supports staff retention, in the current environment where budget is an issue, businesses will need to look at other strategies and tactics to retain and attract quality staff without getting caught up in a salary-bidding war.

“The average wage increase that an employee accepts when taking another job is 15%. However, while salary does play a huge role in employee retention, it’s important to understand that it is not the only factor,” Ms Newbound added.