How to Manage the Skills Shortage in Australia

December 9th, 2021

Australia is in the midst of one of the most critical skills shortages that our economy has faced in the last two decades, according to Australian Chamber of Commerce CEO Andrew McKellar.

Low unemployment rates and the lack of skilled migrants being allowed to come to Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are the major causes.

Managing your business during the skills shortage

If your industry or business is affected by the skills shortage, there are strategies you can use to minimise the impact. They include:

  • upskilling your existing staff
  • redeploying your existing staff
  • reviewing your recruitment practices
  • focusing on skilled staff retention
  • partnering with education and training organisations 
  • outsourcing 
  • hiring older workers.

1. Upskilling your existing staff

Upskilling your existing staff involves investing in relevant training to help your team develop their skills. Doing this can not only help to boost their productivity, but it can also improve their job satisfaction and loyalty to your business.

Training your staff should be viewed as an investment rather than an expense. It can be conducted in-house or outsourced to a relevant external organisation.

2. Reviewing your recruitment practices

If you’re finding it hard to attract skilled staff, you should review your recruitment practices. This includes:

  • how and where you advertise your job vacancies
  • how you select job interview candidates
  • how you conduct job interviews
  • the remuneration you offer for advertised vacancies
  • whether you are prepared to actively ‘headhunt’ suitable candidates from your competitors.

3. Focusing on skilled staff retention

Retaining the skilled staff you have during a skills shortage is crucial. The last thing you want is good staff to leave due to poor job satisfaction or from being headhunted by one of your competitors. Make sure that your skilled team knows they are valued by you and your business.

4. Partnering with education and training organisations

Partnering with education and training organisations can potentially give you access to skilled job candidates before your competitors. From there, a good recruitment process can help you to get the staff you need.

5. Outsourcing

There are growing numbers of skilled freelance workers available for many industries, especially in the digital economy. Accessing this talent pool is a flexible way to get project work done when you need it done.

6. Redeploying your existing staff

Redeploying your existing workforce involves analysing work roles and priorities in relation to how the skills of your staff could best be deployed.

Sometimes staff members’ skills aren’t being used to their full capacity due to misaligned priorities or poorly designed work roles. If these issues can be addressed, both business productivity and staff job satisfaction can often improve.

7. Hiring older workers

Older workers have the experience that younger workers lack, and they can play valuable mentoring roles. There is also a growing number of older people who want to stay in or re-enter the workforce due to Australia’s ageing population

The federal government even provides a $10,000 incentive for hiring eligible mature age workers, so it could also be a cost-effective option.

The bottom line

Good staff are the lifeblood of any successful business in any industry. It’s crucial to implement strategies to both attract and retain good staff, especially during a skills shortage.

If you don’t have the cash flow available to invest in training and hiring, cash flow solutions like debtor finance might be right for you.

If your business needs any help with working capital management via a business line of credit, debtor financing, asset financing, or trade financing, contact Earlypay’s helpful team today on 1300 760 205 or visit our sign-up form.


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