Skills shortages bite as business confidence grows

WA business confidence has risen to fresh highs in June, but skills shortages are impacting every sector in the State, CCIWA’s latest Business Confidence report shows.

The report shows that nearly nine in 10 resources businesses (88 per cent) and three in four manufacturers and professional services providers (75 per cent) expressed confidence in WA’s economy in the short term.

Confidence in mining and related industries has pushed the short-term outlook to its best position since December 2007. The 12-month outlook held steady, with 57 per cent of businesses confident in the economy’s longer-term prospects.

Business Confidence Dashboard

The position was largely due to ongoing optimism around the mining sector, domestic vaccine rollout and low interest rates.

But skills shortages stood out as the number one barrier to economic growth in the State, far above any other concern.

The report shows a 25 per cent increase in businesses that say they are struggling to fill a skilled role and the crisis is impacting every sector.

Among resources businesses, 94 per cent were impacted by skills shortages, followed by 91 per cent in manufacturing, 88 per cent in agriculture and 81 per cent in health care.

More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of WA businesses reported increased strain on current staff in trying to meet demand. This was most acute in the education and training (100 per cent), healthcare (81 per cent) and manufacturing (77 per cent) sectors.

Only around one-third (37%) of WA businesses expect to be able to fill the shortfall by hiring locally, with at least one in five vacant positions likely needing to be filled via overseas migration.

CCIWA Chief Economist Aaron Morey said the results emphasise that the response to the crisis must go beyond training and awareness-raising efforts.

“WA will have to create more space in our quarantine system, with more options such as home quarantine for arrivals from low-risk destinations” he said.

“Inevitably there must also be a clear and simple system to enable Australian businesses to fill critical workforce gaps from overseas, when demand can’t be met locally.

“Confidence in our State is founded upon the Government’s success at managing the virus and optimism about the vaccine rollout. These levers remain our best opportunity to build upon community confidence to safely return to life and business as usual.”

See our media release here.

CCIWA’s Economic Insight page contains extensive data and insights into WA’s economy.

To get in touch with CCIWA’s HR experts, contact our Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 or [email protected].

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