Latest ABS data confirm depth of skills shortages

“ABS data released today confirm the depth of damaging skills shortages which continue to pose an ongoing risk to sustaining the expansion of our economy now in place,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today.

“The Business Conditions and Sentiment June 21 data finds that more than a quarter (27 per cent) of Australian businesses are having difficulty finding suitable staff. This is in line with Ai Group’s own recent research into difficulties businesses are facing in meeting skill needs (Skills Urgency – Transforming Australia’s workplaces) as well as increasingly strong feedback from members struggling to find suitable workers.

“The ABS data show the shortages are due to a range of factors including a lack of applicants (74 per cent), applicants not having the required skills (66 per cent), international border closures (32 per cent) and job location (29 per cent).

“Underpinning these factors are technological changes causing major transformation to work structures, work organisation and work roles. It is difficult for skills formation and development to keep pace with the changing demands of our economy.

“Businesses are taking necessary short-term action such as employing applicants without the right skills and skilling up; re-skilling existing employees; re-organising roles; and employing apprentices/trainees or taking on interns.

“The Government’s extension of work rights for many remaining on-shore visa holders, adding new skills to priority migration lists and providing exemptions for critical skills to enter Australia are welcome moves that will ease some of the pressures businesses are experiencing.

“However, until we begin to open our international borders more decisively, the barriers to returning residents and new arrivals will exacerbate skill shortages and act as a major constraint on the ability of businesses to move beyond recovery and explore opportunities for expansion,” Mr Willox said.

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