Retail labour shortage worsening, finds ARA survey

A national poll by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has found the retail labour shortage has progressively deteriorated during the past three months.

Of retailers polled, 84 per cent said it has become harder to recruit new team members while 73 per cent said job vacancy rates are worse than usual. The job market has also been hit with absenteeism with 55 per cent of respondents agreeing it has become worse.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said the labour crisis must be urgently addressed as retail businesses are “fundamental” to the Australian economy.

“The labour and skills crisis is in addition to the intense cost pressures businesses are facing, with rents increasing along with fuel and energy costs and supply chain constraints. It is a dire situation for many small businesses, who are struggling to keep their heads above water.”

He also urged the federal government to allow employment income exemption for pensioners and to reduce the red tape around immigration in order to acquire more skilled foreign workers and international students.

“Without government intervention, the labour and skills crisis will only deteriorate further and push some businesses to the brink. You cannot have an economic recovery without a retail recovery, and this is also a major handbrake on growth and productivity.”

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