With news that more than 1 million Australians changed jobs in the year to February 2018, it is little wonder employers are complaining of skills shortages and retention problems.
New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed the striking turnover rates – almost equivalent to the entire population of the greater Adelaide area.
And rather than simply moving to a competitor down the road, chief economist Bruce Hockman suggested those skills were being lost altogether, with more than half of those changing employers moving into a different occupation or industry.
Part of the reason for such turnover could be workers chasing higher rates of pay, as private sector wages continue to languish around record lows – a driving force behind the Fair Work Commission’s decision to boost the national minimum wage in 2018/19 by a surprisingly large 3.5 per cent.
Another potential push factor could be the natural decline in some industries as technology makes certain roles and sectors redundant, while simultaneously opening up new opportunities.
The high rates of turnover are also impacting on unemployment, Mr Hockman said, with a greater number of applicants fighting for jobs.
“In February 2018, the share of unemployed who cited ‘too many applicants’ as being the main difficulty in finding work had more than doubled when compared to 2008. This suggests people feel there is a lot more competition for jobs than there used to be,” he said.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.