A third of Australian companies are unable to fill vacancies

New data shows the real damage of the Great Resignation as nearly a third of Australian companies struggle to find workers to fill rosters.

New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows the real damage of the Great Resignation to businesses.

On Thursday, the ABS released new data showing that 31 percent of companies surveyed in June were struggling to find employees.

Hospitality companies are finding it even harder to recruit employees (51 percent say they are struggling), and it gets even harder for large companies – 66 percent of large companies had difficulties recruiting, 62 percent of medium-sized companies.

Small businesses employing fewer than 20 people performed slightly better than average, with 29 percent of them reporting difficulties recruiting employees.

Nearly 8 in 10 companies (79 percent) indicate that there are not enough applicants for vacancies. And of those who do apply, 59 percent of companies report that applicants do not have the right skills or qualifications.

Pay and benefits were the top recruiting issues, with 26 percent of companies calling this a concern. A few fewer companies (24 percent) cited job location as a recruiting problem.

The alarming statistics come despite an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent, the lowest in 48 years.

CommSec senior economist Ryan Felsman said 644,300 Australians switched jobs or looked for new jobs in May, seeking more fulfilling, higher wages or more flexible work arrangements. That’s just below the record high of 709,500 in November 2021.

“The data suggests that Australia’s own version of the ‘Great Resignation’ is well underway, with the pandemic likely to contribute to a change in worker behavior and preferences,” he said.

The Great Resignation trend swept across the US in early 2021 as workers massively dumped their jobs for greener pastures after a harrowing pandemic year.

Nearly 48 million people in the US quit their jobs in 2021, according to the United States Department of Labor. And in January of this year, nearly 4.3 million people left their jobs.

The Quarterly Statistics of ABS as of February 2022 revealed that Australia’s national churn (‘stop’ rate) has risen to 9.5 percent in the past year, its highest level since 2012.

The data revealed 1.3 million people (9.5% of the working population) have changed jobs2.1 million left or lost a job, and another 5.2 percent of those in work reported that they expected to change jobs in the next 12 months

The Great Resignation is so strong it even inspired Beyoncé to write a song about quitting, sleeping more and getting new inspiration.

The ABS’ latest survey also found that employers were doing what they could to entice job applicants to fill their rosters, and larger employers were more willing (and able) to do more to attract new hires.

Nearly half (49 percent) of large and medium-sized companies reported that they would be more likely to offer pay increases to attract job applicants, while only 29 percent of small businesses would do the same.

And while more than a third (34 percent) of companies said they would let employees work remotely, 71 percent of large companies with 200 or more people did so.

The fact that ABS employment figures look rather rosy compared to disturbing corporate reports does not indicate a mass exodus of workers, but a profound refusal to working in jobs that don’t make us happy or don’t fit our lifestyle.

It remains to be seen exactly what this means in the long run, but the Great Resignation isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Perhaps employers should go back to the recruiting drawing board and come up with fresh ideas.

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