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Almost a third of employing businesses unable to find suitable staff

Almost a third (31 per cent) of employing businesses are having difficulty finding suitable staff, according to survey results released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Almost a third of employing businesses unable to find suitable staff
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The survey found that large and medium-sized businesses (66 per cent and 62 per cent) were more likely than small businesses (29 per cent) to have difficulties finding suitable staff. However, nearly half (46 per cent) of small businesses affected were impacted to a great extent.

Respondents to the survey said the most frequently reported reasons were a lack of applicants (79 per cent) and applicants not having the required skills (59 per cent) that correspond with the strengthening jobs market and current low unemployment rate.

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.

Employing businesses reported on workforce actions they plan to take over the next three months. The top workforce actions businesses plan to take are to:

  • Increase wages or salaries (30 per cent)
  • Increase staff numbers (27 per cent)
  • Retrain existing staff (23 per cent)
  • Rearrange job roles and responsibilities (21 per cent)

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

The ABS also released the latest data on business conditions and sentiment that found that in June 2022, almost half (46 per cent) of businesses experienced increases in their operating expenses over the previous month. This is more than double the proportion of businesses compared to June 2021 (21 per cent).

When considering the month ahead, 44 per cent 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.

Nearly half (46 per cent) of all businesses experienced increases in their operating expenses and more than two in five businesses (41 per cent) faced supply chain disruptions. This has remained steady since it peaked in January 2022 (47 per cent).

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

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

When considering the month ahead, 44 per cent 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.

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

Businesses were asked if they were currently experiencing any supply chain disruptions. This has been collected each month from January 2022 through to April 2022, as well as in April 2021.

In June 2022, more than two in five (41 per cent) businesses were experiencing supply chain disruptions. This is consistent with results in April (41 per cent) and March 2022 (41 per cent). The results from January 2022 to June 2022 have remained consistently higher than April 2021, when 30 per cent of businesses reported having supply chain disruptions.  

In June 2022, the industries of retail trade (68 per cent), accommodation and food services (64 per cent) and wholesale trade (61 per cent) had the highest proportion of businesses experiencing supply chain disruptions. Retail trade has remained the highest of all industries since February 2022.

Businesses with supply chain disruptions provided information about the extent to which they are being affected. In June 2022:

  • Forty per cent were affected to a great extent (e.g. major delays/cannot obtain certain items and significant impact on revenue).
  • Fifty-nine per cent were affected to a small extent (e.g. some delays but little impact on revenue).
  • One per cent were not affected at all.

For June 2022, it’s the first time supply chain disruptions to a great extent have reached 40 per cent or higher.

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