Aussie businesses under pressure from talent squeeze

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ABOUT four in 10 businesses are experiencing significant impacts from labour shortages, according to new research from National Australia Bank (NAB).

Big businesses are hardest hit by the talent squeeze, the NAB Business Insight Report released today showed.

About four in 10 medium (38%) and large (37%) firms view labour shortages as a very significant issue, compared with three in 10 (31%) small businesses.

Trade workers (35%) and professionals (32%) are the most common types of labour shortages, according to around one in three Australian firms.

By state, WA tops the country with the highest number of businesses (44%) identifying labour shortages as having a very significant impact on their businesses over the past three months – almost double the number in TAS (24%). WA also leads in expectations of shortages over the next 12 months (43%), followed by NSW/ACT (39%) and QLD (39%), SA/NT (36%) and TAS (20%).

NAB CEO Ross McEwan said bringing talent into Australia will be key to addressing the labour and skill shortages in the next 12 months.

“Australian businesses are facing significant skilled and unskilled labour shortages. Almost every employer I talk to, from cafés, tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing, is saying ‘we can’t get workers’,” Mr McEwan said.

“Data scientists, digital experts and technology skills are also in high demand right across the economy. At NAB, we’re doing a lot of work to retrain and invest in our workforce and we now have more than 2,000 colleagues who are certified cloud-computing practitioners.

“To get the economy really firing we will need to bring people into Australia and make sure, as a nation, we’re building a skilled workforce for the future.”

The research captured the views of around 1,600 Australian businesses across a broad range of industries and sizes from 16 November to 13 December 2021.

During the survey, businesses shared how prevalent the labour shortage issue is today, their expectations for the next 12 months, and how they believe the issue can be solved.

The full report is available in the download section on the right-hand side of this page.   

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