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2024’s Workforce Challenges: A Call to Action for Business Owners and Employers

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2024 has only just began and a new issue has already reared its head in the Australian business world. Namely, almost one-third of businesses are grappling with significant staff shortages. As a business owner or manager, understanding the gravity of this situation and formulating effective solutions is crucial for the long-term success of businesses great and small.

Workforce Shortages:

Recent findings from an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey for business conditions and sentiments in June have shed light on the challenges businesses face in recruiting suitable talent. Building trade workers, clerical staff, labourers, sales personnel, and hospitality workers are reported as the most challenging to find.

CEO Insights:

Andrew McKellar, CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), has emphasised the persistent nature of labour shortages, describing them as a significant plague on businesses. Lack of applicants (79%) and applicants not possessing the required skills (59%) are the most frequently reported reasons of job vacancies going unfulfilled, according to ACCI members surveyed, with larger businesses experiencing more pronounced challenges than their smaller counterparts.

Innovative Approaches:

The severity of the current job market is exemplified by National Tiles, which recently invested in radio recruitment advertisements. Facing 50 vacancies, approximately 10% of its workforce, National Tiles demonstrated the urgency for innovative recruitment strategies in the face of unprecedented challenges. Time will tell if strategies such these will yield any meaningful results in these more desperate times. 

Economic Implications:

Beyond staffing issues, the ABS survey mentioned above reveals that 46% of businesses experienced increased operating expenses in the previous month, more than double the proportion compared to the same period last year. Andrew McKellar of the ACCI has recently highlighted, in an article published by the AFR, the need for businesses to adapt and absorb cost increases, with potential repercussions on consumer prices and inflation.

Consumer Insights:

Despite economic challenges, a separate survey by the National Australia Bank (NAB) indicates that the lowest unemployment rate in almost 50 years is providing some relief to consumers. While the consumer stress index shows a marginal increase, job security remains a critical factor in alleviating household stress.

As an employer, addressing workforce challenges is paramount for the resilience and growth of your business. Innovative recruitment strategies, cost management, and prioritising employee well-being are key components of a proactive approach. By staying informed and adapting to the evolving economic landscape, your business can weather the storm and emerge stronger in the long run.

Workforce planning is one of Performance Advantage’s core services and we are more than well equipped to handle any HR-related issue you may have. For more information on anything we have mentioned in this article, or just about anything else you can think of regarding the world of HR, please contact us on 0408 897 079 or at