08 January 2010

Business Corp says more skilled migrants needed to avoid shortage in WA

The latest business poll by the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) found that small businesses have not experiences difficulties with workforce levels over the past 12 months and are not expecting difficulties in the next 12 months.

SBDC Acting Managing Director, Ms Jacky Finlayson, says the poll raised concern because very few of the respondents indicated a belief that a demand for skilled workers was on the increase or that demand would increase significantly next year.

"It appears that many small business operators are unaware of the likelihood that skills shortages will soon be a major issue for Western Australia once again," Ms Finlayson said.

Ms Finlayson said over the next 12 months competition will be strong for good quality workers, particularly with large infrastructure and resource projects ready to commence around the state. Small business could find they will struggle to keep workers as demand for skilled workers keeps competition strong.

In regards to skilled migration, the SBDC business poll showed that small business operators were prepared to employ skilled migrants and provide on-the-job training for local workers.

The Australian immigration system targets skilled workers, and allows for the priority processing of applicants with occupations that are desperately needed.

The SBDC's 'flash poll' of small and medium sized businesses shows that business operators had found ways of retaining staff during the global financial crisis, in the hope of being better staffed when business activity returned to normal.

"With large infrastructure and resource projects ready to commence around the State, initiatives aimed at retaining good workers would be a wise priority for small business operators," Ms Finlayson said.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australian Visa applications with the Australian High Commission.  

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