400,000 jobs go begging as the Big Quit takes a bite out of businesses

More than 400,000 jobs were vacant in Australia in November as the labour shortage caused by the pandemic piles the pressure on business.

Jan 12, 2022, updated Jan 12, 2022
More than a million workers quit and moved to another job in the year to February

More than a million workers quit and moved to another job in the year to February

About 70,000 of those were in Queensland, slightly less than the level in August.

The reasons given for the vacancies was overwhelmingly from resignations (77 per cent), but workload was second at 45 per cent (there are often more than one reason). Only 19 per cent were seasonal.

The resignation level is expected to increase over 2022 as workers use the looming crisis as a reason to ask for high pay or better conditions.

The biggest increases in vacancies was in arts and recreation which suffered badly from the lockdowns in southern states, and food and accommodation followed by manufacturing, administration and health care. The highest level of vacancies was in healthcare (60,000).

In Queensland the level of vacancies has doubled since February 2020 when the Covid virus first made its impact in Australia. Nationally, there were about 170,000 more vacancies that before the pandemic.

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Business in Queensland has called for emergency visas to allow foreign workers back into the country to help fix the problem.

ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said vacancies continued to reach new record highs through the pandemic.

“These figures continue to show the high demand for workers from businesses emerging from lockdowns, together with ongoing labour shortages, particularly in lower paying industries,” Jarvis said.

“Job vacancies were much higher than at the start of the pandemic in all industries. This was particularly pronounced in arts and recreation services (271 per cent more than February 2020), Accommodation and food services (211 per cent) and rental, hiring and real estate services (165 per cent).


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