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Source: Reuters
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  • With a shortage in skilled labour and an industry services sector facing record-high demand, employers are bolstering salaries and bonuses in a bid to find retain staff
  • Labour shortages in some industries are expected to continue into 2023, according to Infrastructure Australia, meaning workers are in high demand
  • Jobs website SEEK says it saw the highest number of job ads posted in a single month in SEEK’s 23-year history over October
  • Job ads increased in every sector natinoally, with New South Wales and Victoria driving demand on the back of eased COVID-19 restrictions
  • With so many jobs on offer, employers are working hard to ensure their staff don’t feel the need to jump ship

With a workforce thinned out by border closures and an industry services sector facing record-high demand, employers are bolstering salaries and bonuses in a bid to find retain staff.

Australia is in the midst of a simultaneous boom and skills shortage in key industries such as tech, infrastructure, and merger and acquisition law.

With the shortage slated to continue in some industries well into 2023, according to a recent report from Infrastructure Australia, employers are beginning to offer sweeter deals to prospective and existing employees.

For example, some law firms are offering to review salaries twice a year, raise base salaries by up to 15 per cent, and offer sign-on bonuses for the first time in 15 years, according to a report by Reuters last week.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCIWA) said in October Western Australia alone was facing a shortfall of 55,000 workers who would normally be recruited from interstate or overseas — causing a major dip in long-term business confidence. Labour shortages are expected to cost WA businesses some $1.5 billion over the next year.

However, the shortage extends beyond just WA; jobs website SEEK last week reported that the month of October saw the highest number of job ads posted in a single month in SEEK’s 23-year history.

Job ads reach record highs: SEEK

The SEEK report for October showed national job ad volumes grew 10.2 per cent month-on-month in October and were 63.2 per cent higher nationally than over the same month in 2020.

Further, job ads were 44 per cent higher than in October 2019 — before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

SEEK Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand Kendra Banks said easing COVID-19 restrictions in New South Wales and Victoria were driving the surge in job ads.

“In New South Wales, job ads increased by more than 20 per cent for the second month running, and Victoria recorded growth of 16.3 per cent,” Ms Banks said.

“In both states, roles within hospitality and tourism led the way with a jump of 46.2 per cent in New South Wales and 123.8 per cent in Victoria.”

Only Western Australia and Tasmania did not see job ads increase month-on-month in October, though ads were still significantly higher in October 2021 than in October 2019: 61 per cent higher in WA and 76.7 per cent higher in Tasmania.

Moreover, while hospitality and tourism recorded the biggest increase in job ads across the board, Ms Banks said job ad levels rose in every industry nationally in October.

Retention is key

With so many jobs on offer, employers are working hard to ensure their staff don’t feel the need to jump ship.

According to Andrew Brushfield, the Australian director of recruitment agency Robert Half, salaries are being bumped up across sectors such as data management, business intelligence, cybersecurity, and talent acquisition.

“We’re finding ourselves talking to our clients about how they can retain staff because in many ways the cost of replacement is more,” Mr Brushfield told Reuters.

“If employers don’t have their back yard sorted, employees are leaving.”

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