Employer expectations improve in September

The National Skills Commission’s latest Recruitment Experiences and Outlook Survey shows that while labour market conditions remain subdued, future staffing expectations have strengthened, which may reflect the anticipated easing of COVID-19 related restrictions over the coming months.

Overall, in September 2021, 36% of employers surveyed were recruiting or had recruited in the past month, a 2 percentage point decrease on August 2021.

New South Wales had the lowest recruitment rate of 31%, although this had increased from 24% in August 2021.

The overall rate of recruitment difficulty remained steady over the month. In Rest of State areas, however, it declined from 55% to 50%, while in Capital Cities it increased by 3 percentage points to 54%.

The proportion of employers expecting to increase staffing levels (23%) increased by 5 percentage points over the month. In New South Wales, this proportion stood at 22%, a significant increase on August 2021 (13%).

A particularly high proportion of employers in Accommodation and Food Services (34%) expect to increase staff numbers over the next 3 months, likely reflecting the upcoming easing of restrictions in New South Wales and Victoria.

New data from the survey show that lockdowns – both current and future – are the most common ‘single greatest concern’ of employers over the next 3 months (mentioned by 24%). Employers in Western Australia, however, were most likely to say they had ‘no concerns’ (28%), and were just as likely to mention ‘recruitment and retention difficulty’ as they were to say ‘lockdowns’ (both mentioned by 20% of employers in the state).

The report can be viewed in full at lmip.gov.au.