Monday, September 25, 2023

Labour market tightens

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Will Hunter, Yorke Peninsula Country Times

Unemployment figures for Yorke Peninsula’s local government areas continue to fall and businesses are still grappling with workforce shortages.

In a sign of a tightening local labour market, Copper Coast, Barunga West and Yorke Peninsula Council areas all recorded at least a 1.3 per cent decrease in unemployment in the quarter ending March 2023, compared with December 2022.

This comes as industries such as health-care, teaching, construction and hospitality struggle to recruit qualified staff to meet demand.

Local Jobs Program Mid North SA employment facilitator Lisa Brock said she had heard from many employers who were finding it challenging to fill vacancies across YP and the upper and Mid North.

“This is across a huge range of industries and job roles, from entry level to professional roles with employers often having to invest more time in attracting and retaining staff,” Ms Brock said.

“The unemployment rate is only one indicator of many which should be considered when we look at what is happening in our local labour market.

“It is encouraging to see the number of people on income support is falling; however, we still have higher than average unemployment rates across the region (when compared with the national average).

“Across the broader employment region, employment has also increased, so there are more positions to fill.

“We’ve seen that job vacancies this year across the region have also been higher, with some of the most advertised jobs including registered nurses, aged and disability carers, administration, sales, labouring and machine operators.”

Country Living Homes director Mark Ravenscroft said the local building industry had found it difficult to attract skilled trades and workers to the region to complete work for some time.

“One of the issues we have faced in recent times is when our local trades cannot keep up with demand,” Mr Ravenscroft said.

“In the past it used to be easier to call on Adelaide trades to fill the void, but this is not the case at the moment with Adelaide trades not wanting to travel to the regions because the demand for them is so high in their local areas.

“Timeframes have moved upwards across the state and every builder is feeling stretched due to a lack of trades, it is not unique to us.”

Mr Ravenscroft said there had been a lack of emphasis placed on training apprentices for many years across the building sector which had impacted the workforce.

“We’ve worked hard in recent times to counteract the shortages by bolstering our construction team and employing more full-time trades and apprentices,” Mr Ravenscroft said.

“If the demand for building and construction stays as high as is being predicted, the industry will be playing workforce catch-up for many years to come, which is not ideal given the housing and rental shortage at the moment.”

Yorke Peninsula Country Times 8 August 2023

This article appeared in  Yorke Peninsula Country Times, 8 August 2023.


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