Skilled workers hard to find

Date: Aug 26, 2011

Business award winners have spoken up about the difficulties their industries face when it comes to sourcing labour supplies.

According to a survey of the finalists in the 2011 Telstra Business Awards, almost 20 per cent of firms have said their biggest concern for the next 12 months was likely to be related to a lack of skilled workers.

Over 100 companies were involved in the research, nominated for excellence and innovation in their fields across a range of categories including micro-businesses, environmental responsibility and regional businesses, as well as the coveted Business of the Year award.

Talking to, Small Business Award winner Justin Gill said that finding local staff with the right mix of skills and work ethic was one of the largest problems facing his construction business based in the Northern Territory.

The owner of Abode New Homes, Gill said: "To find skilled labour with the attitude that they want to do the right thing and they want to learn and they want to keep improving is hard.

"I'm a fan of immigration in that if we immigrate skilled labour in and skilled resources, I think that can be a fantastic opportunity for Australia to benefit and business to benefit."

This sentiment was echoed by many respondents, with other topics such as the high Australian dollar, rising business costs and increased levels of competition shown to be of lesser concern.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) tries to take these business' needs into account.

These flexible offerings are used by the DIAC to grant a business access to semi-skilled international employees.

They can be used when a company operates in a niche area, regional locations or in industrial sectors that are not fully supported by the local labour supply.

A number of requirements must be satisfied before access can be granted to this offering - the employing company must show that it has exhausted local avenues when sourcing employees.

Factors taken into account by the DIAC include regional unemployment statistics, staff turnover rates, training policies and the remoteness of a business' location.

For greater insight into these factors, employers may wish to contact an immigration lawyer to assist them by assessing the company's case before taking it before the department.

To gain the best chance of having an application pass, an experienced migration lawyer can help by providing professional advice on satisfying departmental requirements.