One in four employers in NSW had staff stood down in August

The National Skills Commission’s latest Recruitment Experiences and Outlook Survey shows that labour market conditions are continuing to ease. Overall, in August 2021, 39% of employers surveyed as part of the Survey were recruiting or had recruited in the past month, a 4 percentage point decrease on July 2021.

Employers in New South Wales had the lowest recruitment rate of the states (25%), reflecting the impact of COVID‑19 restrictions, while Western Australia (52%) and Queensland (51%) reported the highest recruitment rates.

New data from the survey on employers’ staffing situations sheds further light on the current impacts on employers in New South Wales and Victoria. Around one in four (24%) employers in New South Wales had staff stood down (i.e. they had staff who remain employed but are currently not working any hours) in August 2021, while 30% of employers in the state had staff on reduced hours.

Victoria also had a high proportion of employers with staff on reduced hours (25%), and while the proportion with staff stood down (8%) was substantially lower than New South Wales, it was higher than all the other states.

Overall, recruitment difficulty decreased slightly, with 52% of recruiting employers reporting difficulty filling their vacancies. The rate of recruitment difficulty decreased significantly in Rest of State areas (from 61% to 54%) over the past month, while in Capital Cities it increased from 48% to 50%.

The proportion of employers expecting to increase staffing levels remained steady, with 18% of employers surveyed expecting to increase their staffing levels in the next 3 months. Western Australia had the highest proportion of employers expecting to increase staff numbers over the next 3 months (29%). Just 12% of employers in NSW expected to increase their staffing levels, unchanged over the past month but down by 14 percentage points since June 2021.

Nationally, just over a quarter (26%) of employers had staff working from home. This varied considerably by region, with 45% of employers in Greater Sydney and Greater Melbourne having staff working from home. This was well above the 12% recorded in the other Capital Cities. In addition, 26% of employers in Rest of New South Wales and 24% of employers in Rest of Victoria had staff working from home, compared with 6% in the other Rest of State areas.

The report can be viewed in full at