Attracting and retaining skilled workers needs to be a key business priority in the upcoming state budget
New CCIQ data shows attracting and retaining suitable employees is one of the biggest constraints facing Queensland businesses, which has led CCIQ to call for support for upskilling in emerging industries and markets in the upcoming State budget.
CCIQ’s State Budget FY23 submission calls for investment to incentivise upskilling and retraining for traditional and emerging sectors, improved funding arrangements and measures to reinvigorate the regional workforce.
More than half of Queensland businesses are facing major or critical constraints in retaining and recruiting suitably qualified staff, while one in three said they would be looking to the upcoming state budget for workforce support incentives and investment.
CCIQ’s Policy and Advocacy Manager Cherie Josephson said businesses reported labour costs were at a record high in the March 2022 quarter, which reflected the pressure workforce shortages were putting on small and medium businesses especially.
“We’re seeing wage bills increase but employment levels are still weak which indicates businesses are paying higher wages in an already competitive labour market,” Ms Josephson said.
“The state government must prioritise key investments and policies that fast track the advancement of our economy, encourage industry diversification and develop future workforces.
“This budget should future proof businesses, remove hurdles and enable our skilled workforces to provide Queensland with a competitive advantage.”
Ms Josephson said there was an opportunity to train workers in new and emerging skills to address skills gaps in traditional roles and industries as well as emerging.
“A tight labour market can really limit businesses’ ability to grow and be competitive, so we’re looking to the upcoming state budget for commitments to relieve this pressure and ensure businesses are ahead of the game,” Ms Josephson said.
“CCIQ Pulse data shows telecommunications, the arts, hospitality and accommodation, support and personal services industries are especially keen to see investment in upskilling and retraining in the budget.
“We know businesses in regional Queensland are also facing impacts from skilled labour shortages, so we’re calling for incentives to attract skilled workers to regional areas and also simplified migration schemes to help address those challenges outside the larger cities.
“Additionally, targeted and efficient processes for businesses to access education and training programs, especially for sustainability skills, will support upskilling and help connect businesses with skilled workers.
“The extension of apprenticeship and trainee subsidies with a focus on future skills needs will help to see this happen.”
Read CCIQ’s State Budget Submission for further insight.