Almost a third of employing businesses unable to find suitable staff

Media Release

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

Tom Joseph, head of Industry Statistics at the ABS, said; “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.”

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

Factors impacting ability to find suitable staff (a)(b)

Factors impacting ability to find suitable staff

Factors impacting ability to find suitable staff (a)(b)

Factors impacting ability to find suitable staff (a)(b) Labour supply factors: - Lack of job applicants (79%) - Applicants don’t have the relevant experience or qualifications (59%) External factors: - Uncertain economic conditions (24%) Job factors: - Pay conditions (26%) - Job location (24%) - Working days or hours (21%) - Type of employment offered (c) (16%) - Other employment conditions (d) (11%) (a) Proportions are of employing businesses that are having difficulty finding suitable staff to fill jobs. (b) Businesses could select more than one response. (c) For example, permanent, temporary, casual, full-time, part-time. (d) For example, working conditions of the job, leave entitlements, flexible working arrangements, superannuation.

The results also provide information about overall changes in business operating expenses.

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.

(a) Proportions are of all businesses.
(b) Businesses reported changes over the last month.
(c) Expectations for the indicated month as reported by businesses in the previous month of collection. 
(d) The Survey of Business Conditions and Sentiments was not conducted between July 2021 to December 2021 (inclusive).  

Further information is included in Business Conditions and Sentiments.

The ABS would like to thank all businesses that contributed to results for the duration of this survey.

Media notes

  • This is the final Business Conditions and Sentiments release.
  • The data release from the survey provides insights into staffing and workforce arrangements, financial resilience of businesses and supply chain impacts.
  • The additional ABS products published to understand the economic impact of COVID-19 can be found on a dedicated page on the ABS website.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
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