A lack of skilled workers is causing a growing number of SMEs to question whether Australia is a good place in which to do business.
Research conducted for the National Australia Bank (NAB) found that while 71 per cent of the 808 business owners surveyed currently feel positive about Australia being home to their business, poor education standards and a shortage of skilled workers are impacting long-term prospects for businesses.
According to the survey, four in five SME owners (81 per cent) feel that tertiary education is not necessary for newcomers to achieve success in their industry.
This is probably due to 68 per cent believing that Australia is failing to properly train its workers, and nearly 62 per cent say that tertiary graduates are not job ready – mirroring a recent story by My Business about a business owner lambasting the poor quality of graduates coming out of Australian universities.
As well as training standards, business owners are worried about the outflow of skilled workers, with over half (52 per cent) saying they believe foreign countries are getting the benefits of Australia’s best and brightest.
The findings help to demonstrate why so many business owners have been shocked and angered by the government’s decision to abolish 457 visas earlier this year.
Many remain uncertain about how they will fill the gap once the scheme is completely replaced next year, given that hundreds of skilled professions previously eligible for 457 temporary working visas have been culled from the replacement working visa scheme.
The solution, according to the surveyed business owners, lies firmly within the government’s power: 84 per cent believe more generous tax breaks and incentives for SMEs would help them support emerging talent, and 82 per cent think it could do a great deal to nurture more in innovation and entrepreneurship.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.