New ABS data underscores the critical worker shortages holding back our economic recovery and punishing customers who want to travel, go out and boost small businesses, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.
“Businesses crying out for almost half a million workers to fill roles and keep their doors open, more than double pre-pandemic levels.
“A shortage of workers puts a handbrake on businesses who want to expand and innovate, boost their productivity and pay sustained higher wages.
“And, it means customers face long waits when travelling, they can’t get reservations at their favourite restaurants and cafes, or they can’t access the services they want.
“You can’t employ hundreds of Australians on a construction job if you don’t have a surveyor, you can’t deliver an infrastructure pipeline without engineers, and you can’t open your restaurant or café if you don’t have the staff.
“To lock in our recovery and to make sure Australians get the services they expect, we must boost levels labour force participation, attract migrants and deliver a skills system that lets Australians reskill and upskill quickly.
Australia has some of the best homegrown talent in the world and we are building a strong pipeline for the future, but you can’t train workers who simply aren’t here.
“There are now almost the same number of unemployed Australians as there are job vacancies.
“We need both targeted migration to fill critical shortages at every skill level right now, and a skills system that lets workers easily and quickly train with the skills employers need for the longer term.
“Business looks forward to working with the government to ease long visa processing delays, making sure our immigration system delivers the skills and workers Australia needs for the future and staying course on measures that let women get back into the workforce.
“As a national priority, we must keep the recovery on track by attracting the best talent and managing Australia’s acute workforce shortfall.