Labour and skills crunch worsens

Persistent labour and skills shortages continue to plague Australian businesses, with job vacancies reaching a record 480,000 positions in May.

According to job vacancies data, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today, the number of advertised positions has risen 14 per cent over the last three months, to almost half a million jobs.

“Australian employers are facing a labour and skills crisis that is only getting worse,” ACCI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.

“Businesses big and small, across every sector, and right around the country are facing enormous pressures to recruit and retain staff. Workforce shortages are holding back business and holding back the economy.

“Crisis-level skill shortages come at a time where unemployment is at its lowest in 48 years and consumer demand is strengthening. Businesses are finding there just aren’t enough people to fill jobs.

“In light of chronic workforce gaps, businesses have turned to existing employers to work additional hours where possible, reducing their operating capacity, or closing their doors entirely.

“According to a recent OECD report, Australia is experiencing the second-worst skills crisis in the developed world, reinforcing the need for swift action from government to ensure businesses have access to the workers they need.

“With labour constraints faced by business getting worse as the economic recovery gathers pace, we must bring together smart solutions that increase investment in education and training, enhance workforce participation and rebuild sustainable migration.”

Earlier this year, ACCI released a workforce policy position paper which provides a blueprint to tackle Australia’s acute workforce shortages: Overcoming Australia’s Labour & Skills Shortages through Skills Development, Workforce Participation and Migration.

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