Tight national jobs market sinks prospect of WA skills raid on east coast


Chris Rodwell

The Chamber of Commerce & Industry WA (CCIWA) today released results from a nation-wide survey, showing there is a bidding war to secure Australian workers, as skills shortages grip the nation.

Across every sector, more than half of all Australian businesses (54.8%) report having suitable candidates decline their job offer, due to a better wage offer elsewhere.

The mining sector is in a contest with Australia’s other large businesses. More than 4 in 5 (81%) of resources businesses report being outbid in the struggle for skilled workers. There was also ferocity in the contest among energy and utilities (83%), finance and insurance (77%) and administration and support (63%) businesses.

The scarcity of skilled workers emerged as the biggest barrier to growth for WA businesses this year, but the rest of Australia is also experiencing acute demand pressures.

64% of respondents in Tasmania and the Territories are having difficulty filling a vacant skilled role. About three in five businesses across our big states New South Wales (63%), Queensland (57%) and Victoria (56%) report struggling to hire for a skilled position, with WA coming in at 55%.

These results dash WA’s prospects of poaching east coast workers to fill our skills and labour shortages. Only a quarter of WA businesses (28%) expect to be able to fill all the critical gaps in their workforce from Australian workers. The survey results clearly show that WA relies to a greater extent on overseas workers than most other states and territories.

The results underscore key markers for the upcoming WA Skills Summit:
• the need for a plan to safely access skilled migration from overseas;
• to create more space in our quarantine system;
• more options for safe home quarantine for vaccinated arrivals; and
• applying a risk-based approach to lockdowns, once vulnerable cohorts in Australia have been vaccinated.

Further data from our survey about the jobs contest can be found here:

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