More than a quarter of Victorian businesses affected by changes to 457 Visas for foreign workers say they will look to employ Australian workers, a survey by the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry indicates.
Of 323 Victorian businesses responding to the latest Survey of Business Trends and Prospects, 60 per cent said they invest in training or poach employees from their competitors to fill skills gaps.
Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Mark Stone AM said the survey revealed how prevalent skills gaps are, with 35 per cent of respondents having difficulty hiring skilled Australian workers, but just nine per cent used the skilled migration visas to hire qualified workers.
“Our findings show that more than a third of surveyed businesses are training up their existing workers and a quarter were actively seeking to attract skilled employees from local competitors,” he said.
“The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is calling for better alignment between the education system such as vocational education training and other pathways to align with what industries need to succeed.
“The key is for employers to be able to recruit from a qualified and trained pool of candidates in Australia without having to look offshore to fill vital skilled roles.”
The building and construction sector is having the most difficulty hiring skilled Australian workers (54 per cent struggling to hire staff), followed by business services (44 per cent) and education, health and community services (42 per cent).
Other findings from the survey included:
· Retailers and wholesalers are operating in a very difficult climate, with many forced to constantly discount products in an attempt to boost sales and combat falls in profits.
· Confidence in the Australian economy weakened by one percentage point over the first six months of the year, this fall was led by metropolitan-based businesses.
· Over the past two quarters, confidence in the Victorian economy also rose by four percentage points.
“Victorian businesses are operating in a tough climate, and need support to address and fill their skills shortages whether that be through accredited training or non-accredited training,” Mr Stone said.
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