Queensland has ‘run out of workers’ as job vacancies soar, wage pressure grows

Queensland has effectively run out of available workers with job vacancies now 54 per cent above the pre-Covid levels and the highest in the nation.

Oct 26, 2021, updated Oct 26, 2021

Queensland job vacancies are at an all-time high. (Photo: AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Queensland job vacancies are at an all-time high. (Photo: AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

In September alone, job vacancies jumped 5 per cent to 229,000 nationally, according to National Skills Commission.

It has led to unemployment in Queensland falling to a 20-year low of 4.9 per cent compared to a level of 7.4 per cent for the same time last year and wage pressure was building.

In Queensland, areas like the Wide Bay and Burnett, Townsville and Toowoomba were particularly hard hit, according to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland.

Morgans Stockbroking also said the recovery of Flight Centre could be impacted by a shortage of workers.

CCIQ general manager of policy and advocacy Amanda Rohan said COVID had exaggerated challenges that had already existed.

“There has been really big supply challenges,” Rohan said.

“We have heard of people, even health workers, who have had to live in their cars at the moment.”

While stressing she was not an economist, Rohan said it appeared that Queensland had hit the threshold of people who were willing to step into the job market. That was also impacted by the lack of international and interstate movement of people who would normally fill those jobs.

She said there had been a strong response from the Queensland Government in this year’s Budget but the initiatives had not yet “been pushed out the door”.

“We are seeing it across many sectors. We are talking about chefs and cleaners through to marine service, engineers and accountants, some of the really high-skilled professional areas. Health is a big one as well.

“Jobkeeper was holding people back from seeking jobs but now that has come off and we are seeing jobs growth.

“We really have probably hit our threshold of those who are willing to work.  We have met some sort of natural level.

“From conversations I have had with economists it seems like it is the perfect storm of Jobkeeper coming off, no migration and a lack of people from interstate which would we would normally see. Those supply constraints are hitting us the hardest.

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“Queensland relies a lot on the transient workforce.

“While we would love to people not in the workforce to participate of course we are going to need the movement of people.

“We have been saying to the State Government that Covid had (exaggerated) an issue that existed before. We did not have the settings right and we were lacking core skills.

The National Skills Commission said job advertisements had increased across all sectors and the strongest growth had been in sales (up 17.8 per cent), community and personal workers (up 17 per cent) and laboureres (up 8.2 per cent).

It said job advertisements had increased in 42 of the 48 occupational groups.





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