01 February 2011

WA and Queensland feeling brunt of Australian skills shortage

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Nearly half of all businesses in Western Australia and Queensland are being negatively impacted by skills shortages, the Bankwest Social Indicator Series has revealed.

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A shortage of skilled workers, particularly in the resources sector could harm the Australian economy.

Some 40 per cent of respondents in WA and QLD reported difficulties in attracting staff that had negatively impacted their business, compared to 28 per cent in the rest of Australia.

There are fears that a major skills shortage in these states could slow down the Australian economy, and many business leaders have called for faster processing of Australia Visas for skilled workers from overseas in order to avoid losses in productivity. 

In WA and QLD,  47 per cent of businesses reported difficulty in filling job vacancies over the past year despite paying staff more than in other states.

In comparison, only 36 per cent  of business in the rest of Australia reported difficulties in filling job vacancies.

Some 74 per cent of businesses in WA and QLD also reported being forced to hire less experienced workers, compared to 66 per cent for the rest of Australia.

Bankwest business chief executive Ian Corfield said the looming skills shortage was a concern for many businesses, particularly given ongoing demands for Australian resources overseas. 

"A lot of Australians may think we saw the worst of the skills shortage prior to the global financial crisis but businesses are telling us that the worst may be still to come.

"Both Western Australia and Queensland are feeding the resource needs of China and India. This is putting direct pressure on local job markets and it has an additional flow on effect into the other states.

"This is resulting in significant changes in the way businesses operate," Mr Corfield said. 


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