By Alyssa Bennett - COO
With businesses across NSW opening for fully vaccinated customers, it should be a time for optimism, and it's great to see business confidence returning. Yet, understaffing remains a significant challenge in many industries and regions – particularly those outside our metropolitan areas.
I was recently appointed to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) Jobs and Skills Taskforce for the Central West region, which seeks to address employers' skill needs into the future. In this region alone, there are skill shortages in a wide variety of occupations, from butchers, pastry cooks and bakers to landscapers, childcare workers, and aged and disabled carers.
Despite these skills shortages, businesses must find ways to return to pre-pandemic trading levels, particularly with government support set to end for each state once it reaches an 80% vaccination rate. NSW has already hit this milestone, so it’s a critical time to discuss some of the challenges and how employers can overcome them.
Challenges are heightened
Recent pauses in face-to-face training have heightened challenges in some industries as there is a shortage of suitably qualified workers ready to start. For example, many licenses and certifications including Barista, White Card and Confined Spaces, require in-person practical observational assessments, which have been unable to occur since June. In addition, many full qualifications, including childcare and aged care, require a work placement component. This component has proved challenging not just during lockdown, but for the entirety of the pandemic, as businesses (understandably) place restrictions on visitors to sites.
And although we saw a significant number of workers displaced in 2020, many of them have gone on to find opportunities in other industries, leaving skill gaps in industries such as tourism, hospitality and retail. This couldn't come at a worse time, as many of these industries are gearing up for peak Christmas season.
The good news is that there are many great job seekers out there looking for new opportunities and there are ways to access new and diverse talent pools.
Think outside the box
Gone are the days when you could simply post a job ad with your candidate wish list and applications rolled in. So, it may be time to think outside the box when it comes to hiring.
VERTO is proactively preparing talented job seekers for ongoing and seasonal roles in industries like retail and hospitality. Our fantastic talent pool includes mature-aged workers, Indigenous community members, people with disability, and school leavers looking to get a start in their chosen fields.
These job seekers may not have industry experience, however they are highly motivated, enthusiastic and can bring a raft of transferable skills, new ideas and fresh perspectives. In addition, you may be able to access incentive programs such as wage subsidies, that support both the job seeker and your business.
The VERTO team works closely with employers to match them with the right job seeker. Our focus is on finding long-term, sustainable opportunities for both the employer and job seeker, so you'll be supported throughout the process and can even access ongoing support once employment has commenced.
Hire for attitude, train for skills
If you are in an industry that doesn't require formal qualifications or are in a position to take on a trainee or apprentice, looking for someone with the right attitude can be a great way to find and nurture talent. You'll be contributing to the future of not just your business but your industry as a whole.
VERTO's CareerGate platform is a free, online platform that matches job seekers with apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities that match their skills and interests. An employer, you can work with our CareerGate team to find job seekers who match your requirements and are keen to get a start.
Talk to your local employment services provider
VERTO works with employers across NSW and the ACT, and our consultants have a good understanding of the local market. At present, we have a number of highly motivated job seekers on our caseload who have been proactively preparing to return to work, with short courses, qualifications and/or job readiness training so they can hit the ground running.