40% of local businesses face skill shortages

In our latest Executive Outlook business survey, 65 local business leaders shared their experiences and insights on skill shortages (viewed across different sectors).  Given the state of our economy right now, you might be a little surprised by these results (hiring intentions are encouraging, too).

Skill Shortages

40% of business leaders are challenged by skill shortages, despite growing unemployment. There are lingering issues in attracting experienced local talent in some professions (including legal, finance and social support). Health and finance professionals  are in high demand, as are logistics personnel to support the massive growth in on-line deliveries.

By default, technology has emerged as a critical sector.  We’ve been forced to digitise our economy very quickly.  For cyber criminals, that’s gold.  Cyberattacks to access websites and systems via phishing or socially engineered attacks, fuelled by Co-vid have skyrocketed.  We are all vulnerable to these security risks. 

“You need brilliant IT support behind the scenes”.

“It only takes one person to click on an infected email link, or one virus to make its way through your firewall, and there goes your data”.

This has paved the way for cybersecurity specialists, to tackle hackers, leaks and identify fraud.  The market’s also red-hot for Web designers, ap developers and digital marketers.

  • Interpol is seeing an “alarming rate of cyberattacks aimed at major corporations, governments, and critical infrastructure.”
  • Cybersecurity firm, MonsterCloud reports ransomware attacks are up 800% in the pandemic.

The Australian Government’s Stay Smart Online alert service is helpful to stay updated on threats. along with up to date anti-virus software, meticulous off-site back-ups and training staff in identifying malicious emails.

“It’s still hard to find the right person, with the right mix of skills”.

The unpinning soft skills to shine in this crisis combine engagement, influence and empathy with high-level technical skills.  These qualities are so important in this fast paced transactional world.

 “You need customer focussed people, who can engage, think on their feet and build phone relationships fast”.

There are a series of discrete interactions involved in moving from transactions to relationship selling. These are the subtle skills that are sought-after across all disciplines and reinforced by business leaders in Executive Outlook.

Hiring intentions

64% of firms intend to maintain current staff numbers. Notably, 15% plan to decrease headcount. The encouraging news is 21% of firms signalled their intention to hire more staff.  However, faced with another lockdown, all bets are off.

Workforce Trends

Young jobseekers have been struggling to get a foothold (reflected in over 16% youth unemployment). It’s harder for graduates to get their foot in the door. This was reflected in our survey.

“Unis deregulated and opened up cheap law degrees. There are too many offered, and few job prospects.”

Australia has had steady growth for decades with strong coal, iron ore and natural gas exports to China. Tourism has also been a big driver of growth.  We were hit hard this year. First the bushfires ravaged over 12 million hectares, which smashed tourism and local commerce. Then the pandemic hit, and we’re left with the health and economic fall-outs.

Ready for Work

The best part of this recession is that there will be a rebound, especially with the kick-start announced in last nights’ budget (JobMaker Hiring Credits for eligible jobseekers  aged 16-35 years, Boosting Apprenticeships Wage Subsidies of 50% for new apprentices and trainees, coupled with existing regional Back to Work subsidies).

That’s why we’re delighted to offer our youth community the opportunity to upskill and transition into growth sectors. Our popular 2 week Ready for Work programs, with our qualified career practitioner, covers tailored career plans, employer expectations, interviews and job search skills.

This is an incredible opportunity, both for businesses as well as creating meaningful job pathways for young people. Over 100 local businesses have already employed a trainee from our programs, supported by the amazing subsidies available. Please reach out to Bree on 3812 2920, to see how we can support your business.

“We found our Ready for Work trainee through Top Office. He is an absolute asset.”
“A great initiative small businesses can benefit from, delivered by an experienced team like Top Office.”
“Sharni came as our Ready for Work trainee with the skills to make a positive transition. Top Office made the process a breeze.”
“I am writing to express my appreciation to the team at Top Office.  I would not be where I am today without your help”.
“Completing the Ready for Work course at Top Office was one of the best things I have ever done for my career. I enjoyed every second.  Your assistance in obtaining my job gave me the kickstart I needed, it’s all due to your help”.

Executive Outlook

To find out more about Executive Outlook’s research into local business sentiment, reshaping what we do, remote work and skill shortages, listen to our exclusive “Ipswich Today” podcast.
Compiled by Jan Gadsden, Founder/Director of Top Office Group Pty Ltd.