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Almost a third of businesses unable to find suitable staff

Almost one in three employing businesses looking to hire staff are struggling to find suitable workers, according to an ABS survey.

27 June 2022 

Tom Joseph, Head of Industry Statistics at the ABS, said large and medium-sized businesses (66% and 62%) were more likely than small businesses (29%) to have difficulties finding suitable staff. 

However, nearly half (46%) of small businesses affected were impacted to a great extent.

“Nearly a third (31%) of employing businesses reported that they were having difficulty finding suitable staff to fill jobs. This was higher than June 2021 (27%)," Mr Joseph said.

“Businesses reported having difficulty finding suitable building trade workers, clerical workers, labourers, sales staff and hospitality workers. Other in demand jobs included engineering trades and ICT professionals.”

“The most frequently reported reasons were a lack of applicants (79%) and applicants not having the required skills (59%). This corresponds with the strengthening jobs market and current low unemployment rate."

Businesses in the industry of Accommodation and food services were most likely to have trouble finding suitable staff to fill jobs (51%). The results also showed notable increases in difficulty for some industries when compared with June 2021, including Education and training (25% to 47%), Retail trade (18% to 39%) and Administrative and support services (24% to 43%).

Employing businesses reported on workforce actions they plan to take over the next three months include increasing wages (30%) and staff numbers (27%) to address labour challenges.

Businesses also look to re-train existing staff (23%) and rearrange job roles and responsibilities (21%).

Medium and large businesses were more likely than small businesses to expect to increase wages or salaries over the next three months (both 49% compared with 29%).

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Businesses also provided information on how their operating expenses had changed over the last month and expected changes for the next month.

In June 2022, 46% of businesses experienced increases in their operating expenses over the previous month compared to 21% of businesses in June 2021, according to the ABS.

When considering the month ahead, 44% of businesses expect operating expenses to increase. The proportion of businesses expecting an increase is the highest recorded since the question was first asked in July 2020.

“Similar to March, April and May 2022, businesses commented that general cost increases as well as increases in the cost of products, materials, fuel and wages are reasons for the increase in their operating expenses for June,” the ABS said.

“Businesses mentioned general cost increases and wage increases as the main reasons they expect operating expenses to increase next month.” 

In June 2022, more than two in five (41%) businesses were experiencing supply chain disruptions. The ABS found this was consistent with results in April (41%) and March 2022 (41%). 

The results from January 2022 to June 2022 had remained consistently higher than April 2021, when 30% of businesses reported having supply chain disruptions. 

In June 2022, the industries of Retail trade (68%), Accommodation and food services (64%) and Wholesale trade (61%) had the highest proportion of businesses experiencing supply chain disruptions. Retail trade remained the highest of all industries since February 2022.  

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