5676.0.55.003 - Business Indicators, Business Impacts of COVID-19, July 2020  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/07/2020   
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Workforce difficulties experienced by businesses

Employing businesses provided information on workforce difficulties they were experiencing in relation to:

    • Filling job vacancies;
    • Meeting sufficient staffing levels with existing employees (including those on leave) and the main barriers in doing so; and
    • Negotiating work arrangements with existing employees, such as hours of work, additional/less shifts, working from home.

Filling job vacancies and meeting sufficient staffing levels

Stacked bar graphs of difficulties filling job vacancies and difficulties meeting staffing levels with existing employees

Businesses experiencing difficulties in filling job vacancies and meeting sufficient staffing levels, by employment size(a)

Clustered bar graphs of difficulties in filling job vacancies and meeting sufficient staffing levels, by employment size

Medium businesses (i.e. 20-199 persons employed) were almost twice as likely to experience difficulties in finding staff to fill job vacancies compared to small (i.e. 0-19 persons employed); 19% compared to 11% of small businesses. Medium businesses were also the most likely to experience difficulties in meeting staffing levels with existing employees.

Barriers to meeting sufficient staffing levels

The 9% of employing businesses that reported experiencing difficulties in meeting sufficient staffing levels were asked to provide additional information on the barriers that contributed to these difficulties. The following is an image of the key themes reported by these businesses. More common responses are bigger, bolder and repeated in the image.

Word cloud on perceived barriers to meeting staffing levels with existing employees


Difficulties experienced by businesses in negotiating work arrangements with employees

All employing businesses were asked if they had experienced difficulties negotiating work arrangements with employees in relation to hours, rates of pay, changes in duties and work location.

Approximately three in ten employing businesses (31%) reported they had experienced one or more issues in negotiating work arrangements with employees.

Difficulties experienced in negotiating work arrangements with employees, by employment size(a)(b)

Small
(0-19 persons)
Medium
(20-199 persons)
Large
(200 or more persons)
All employing businesses

%
%
%
%
Increasing employee hours
6
11
7
6
Reducing employee hours
12
12
17
12
Changes to rates of pay
5
2
11
5
Change of employee duties
10
12
13
10
Change of work location (e.g. staff working from home)
16
17
30
16
Other
5
7
9
5
One or more of the listed work arrangements
30
38
47
31

(a) Proportions are of all employing businesses
(b) Businesses could provide more than one response to the question

Difficulties experienced in negotiating work arrangements with employees, by top reporting industries(a)(b)

Type of work arrangement
Top industries

Increasing employee hours21% Administrative and support services
17% Arts and recreation services

Reducing employee hours28% Accommodation and food services
21% Education and training

Changes to rates of pay11% Arts and recreation services
9% Construction

Change of employee duties27% Education and training
19% Professional, scientific and technical services

32% Professional, scientific and technical services
30% Administrative and support services

(a) Proportions are of all employing businesses
(b) Businesses could provide more than one response to the question