Regional Pulse – July

CCIWA Chief Economist 

Aaron Morey 

The latest Regional Pulse report by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCIWA) shows confidence among WA’s regional businesses remains high, though skills and labour shortages continue to bite.  

 

Regional businesses expect strong conditions for the next 3 to 12 months. Most (61%) anticipate an improving economy in the short term, equal to levels of optimism in the Perth metro and Peel. In the longer term, around half (52%) believe the economy will continue to strengthen into 2022. 

 

Meanwhile the regional workforce is not keeping pace with the demands of a recovering economy. Four in five (78%) regional businesses are struggling to fill a skilled occupation, a 19-point surge since last quarter. Businesses in the Pilbara (97%), Mid-West/Gascoyne (92%) and Kimberley (83%) regions were the most heavily impacted. By region, the most in-demand occupations were mechanics (Mid-West, Gascoyne and Kimberley), drill and blast engineers (Goldfields-Esperance), boilermakers (Wheatbelt), and fitters (Pilbara). There is also strong demand for farm workers, hospitality workers and truck drivers.  

 

On average, regional businesses reported needing workers with at least 2.8 years training or experience, with more experience required in resources, construction, and manufacturing roles.  

 

While regional businesses are ramping up their effort to train new workers, only 30% expect to be able to fill their vacant roles locally. As many as one in four jobs in the regions (18%) will need to be filled via overseas migration — greater than the proportion in Perth and Peel.  

 

These results confirm that regional and metro businesses face the same skills and labour pressures, with a need for more space in our quarantine system and a clear process to enable critical workforce gaps to be filled via migration. In CCIWA’s recent national survey, such measures had 2-1 support from Australians in every State and every walk of life. A consistent message from business and households is that Australians – with confidence supported by global and national progress on vaccines – are ready to move beyond the lockdowns, closed borders and restraints they have been living with. Read the full report here.

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