Business Conditions and Sentiments

Latest release

Insights into Australian business conditions and sentiments.

Reference period
June 2022

Key statistics

  • Almost a third of employing businesses (31%) are having difficulty finding suitable staff.
  • Nearly half (46%) of all businesses experienced increases in their operating expenses.
  • More than two in five businesses (41%) faced supply chain disruptions. This has remained steady since it peaked in January 2022 (47%).

This is the final Business Conditions and Sentiments release. A summary of question themes included in each monthly release between March 2020 to June 2022 is available in Data downloads.

The June collection was conducted through a telephone based survey between 8 June and 16 June. During this time the Fair Work Commission announced a rise in the minimum wage of 5.2% or $40 a week. The rise will take effect from July 1 2022.

In responding to the survey, businesses are asked to provide a best estimate only, without accessing records or reports.

Business size categories used in this release:

  • Small (0-19 persons employed);
  • Medium (20-199 persons employed); and
  • Large (200 or more persons employed).

For information on survey sample, response rates and the questionnaire, see Methodology.

Difficulties finding suitable staff

Businesses provided information about their difficulties in finding suitable staff to fill jobs. This information was last collected in June 2021.

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%).

Large (66%) and medium businesses (62%) were more likely to report they were having difficulty finding suitable staff, compared to small businesses (29%). Of these, small and medium businesses were more likely to have business operations impacted to a great extent (46% and 40%) than large businesses (29%) as a result of not finding suitable staff.

(a) Proportions are of employing businesses.

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%).

(a) Proportions are of employing businesses.
(b) Includes repair and maintenance, personal (e.g. hairdressers) and other services.       

The 31% of employing businesses that reported they were having difficulty finding suitable staff provided comments on the types of jobs they were having difficulty filling. The following word cloud presents the types of jobs reported by these businesses. The more common responses are bigger and bolder.

Type of jobs for which businesses are having difficulty finding suitable staff

Word cloud presenting the types of jobs for which businesses reported they were having difficulty finding suitable staff.
From largest to smallest, these jobs include: Building Trades, Clerical Workers, Labourers, Salespersons, Hospitality workers, Automotive & Engineering trades, ICT Professionals, Managers, Health Professionals, Business Professionals, Education Professionals, Engineering & Science Professionals, Personal & Other Service Workers, Chefs & Cooks, Drivers, Machinery & Plant Operators and Careworkers.

Factors impacting ability to find suitable staff

Employing businesses having difficulty finding suitable staff reported on factors impacting their ability to find staff. The most common factors were lack of job applicants (79%) and applicants not having the relevant experience and qualifications (59%).

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.

Future workforce actions

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%);
  • Increase staff numbers (27%);
  • Re-train existing staff (23%); and
  • Re-arrange 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%).

Workforce actions businesses plan to take over the next three months, by employment size (a)(b)

 Small businessesMedium businesses Large businessesAll businesses
 %%%%
Increase wages or salaries29494930
Increase staff numbers25525727
Re-train existing staff21454823
Rearrange job roles and responsibilities20363921
Increase staff hours19201819
Introduce new flexible working arrangements 14202514
Outsource work to a third party10182210
Introduce new benefits815208
Reduce staff hours5615
Reduce staff numbers2232

(a) Proportions are of employing businesses.
(b) Businesses could select more than one response.

Changes in operating expenses

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% of businesses experienced increases in their operating expenses over the previous month compared to 21% of businesses in June 2021.

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.

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

(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).  

Supply chain disruptions

A supply chain is a logistics network between a business and its suppliers to produce and distribute a product to the customer. A supply chain disruption is an interruption to that network.

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%) businesses were experiencing supply chain disruptions. This is consistent with results in April (41%) and March 2022 (41%). The results from January 2022 to June 2022 have 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 has remained the highest of all industries since February 2022.

(a) Proportions are of all businesses.
(b) Top industries in 2022 only. 
(c) The Survey of Business Conditions and Sentiments was not conducted between July 2021 to December 2021 (inclusive).  
(d) The supply chain disruption question has only been asked in April 2021, January 2022 through to April 2022 and June 2022.

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

  • 40% were affected to a great extent (e.g. major delays / cannot obtain certain items and significant impact on revenue).
  • 59% were affected to a small extent (e.g. some delays but little impact on revenue); and
  • 1% were not affected at all.

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

(a) Proportions are of businesses experiencing supply chain disruptions.            

Teleworking

Employing businesses provided information about current teleworking arrangements for their workforce and what they expected to happen long term.

Over a third (34%) of employing businesses reported that they had staff currently teleworking. This compares to 30% in April 21 and 43% in September 2020.

Large businesses were more likely than medium and small businesses (71% compared with 40% and 33%) to have staff teleworking.

Businesses that currently had staff teleworking provided information on listed factors influencing their teleworking arrangements. Businesses using teleworking to allow staff flexibility was the main factor across small (70%), medium (76%) and large businesses (83%).

(a) Proportions are of employing businesses with their workforce teleworking.
(b) Businesses could select more than one response.

Businesses with teleworking staff reported how they expected their teleworking arrangements to change in the long term. The results showed that based off their current operations, a similar proportion of businesses across all employment size ranges expect their teleworking to increase (small 12%, medium 11% and large 13%). Large and medium businesses (both 29%) were more likely than small businesses (20%) to decrease their current teleworking arrangements.

(a) Proportions are of businesses with their workforce teleworking.
(b) Proportions are of employing businesses.
(c) The sum of the components may not equal 100% due to rounding.

What's next?

This is the final Business Conditions and Sentiments release. The ABS would like to thank all businesses for their involvement in the survey. The information collected is of value to inform government and community responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The results for all past publications can be accessed by selecting ‘View all releases’ in the header of this publication.

This publication forms part of a suite of additional products that the ABS produced to measure the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Australian economy and society.

For more information refer to the Measuring the impacts of COVID-19 update.

Data downloads

Spreadsheets

Data files

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5676.0.55.003

Post release changes

23/06/2022 - Change of wording in commentary of Key Statistics section

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