Is Regional Australia facing a workforce shortage?


When businesses look to hire new employees, hiring managers and upper management are tasked with finding the right person for the job. Currently, according to Jack Archer, finding the right people to fill jobs across regional Australia is becoming increasingly difficult. 

In an opinion piece by Jack Archer, chief executive of the Regional Australia Institute, regional Australia is suffering from an increasing shortage in the workforce. If this is the case, how can employers find the right people for their business when regional Australia is apparently facing a workforce shortage? And what are the impacts on a business if they can't find the right person?

According to Archer's article, due to the increased performance and growth of businesses in regional Australia, there has been an increase in labour demands, and the needs are yet to be met. “Long term data shows that regional Australia reliably contributes new jobs to the national economy…” said Archer. Despite the end of many big mining construction projects in regions which caused a sharp downturn in jobs in what had been boom areas, overall 108,525 new jobs were created between 2011 and 2016 in regional Australia.” 

“Unfortunately for many regions, particularly those more remote from the big cities, longstanding job vacancies for both highly skilled professionals and services workers and for lower-skilled work are not new. Employers in regions tell us regularly that they have jobs unfilled, that they have stopped advertising or are making do with expensive temporary migrants to get by. This costs those business and local economies heavily and is a drag on overall national job growth.”

To meet labour demands, employers need permanent migrants as well as more Australians to fulfil the requirements needed by regional Australia. The growth of vacancies is occurring across a range of sectors within the industry.

“Vacancies for machinery operators and drivers have grown by a staggering 44 percent in regions in the last two years…” wrote Archer. “Also, 35 percent more technicians and trades workers are needed. Before you jump to the conclusion that it is only trades and lower skilled workers regions need, you should also know that vacancies for managers and professionals have also grown by 20 percent and 23 percent since February 2016. Both skilled and unskilled workers are needed to support growth in regional economies.”

In some cases, companies are finding it so difficult to find the right person, that they will give up – pull an ad and stop the search. Employers are reportedly moving ahead without the extra member of the team they were they had been searching for. They figure out how to make do with their existing team, rather than wait indefinitely for the right person to come along.

What this means is, for employers seeking skilled and qualified workers in agribusiness, the market for candidates is competitive. There is no apparent solution to this broader problem yet. But there are things that you can do to increase your visibility to candidates. Job ads, networks, hiring managers and recruiters are all great channels depending on your business needs.

Visit our jobs page to view available jobs across Australia.

If you are interested in a career change to help you achieve your goals, contact Josh from National Agri-Solutions.