Nine of ten NSW businesses, including ECEC, are struggling to find staff
The Sector > Workforce > Nine of ten NSW businesses, including ECEC, are struggling to find staff

Nine of ten NSW businesses, including ECEC, are struggling to find staff

by Freya Lucas

July 01, 2022

More than 90 per cent of New South Wales businesses, including those operating in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector are struggling to find the staff they need to operate effectively according to the 2022 Workforce Skills Survey


Conducted recently by Business NSW, the annual survey took stock of over 600 businesses across the State, finding that almost every business in NSW has unfilled vacancies. 


Some businesses operate in industries or sectors where the workforce shortage is being felt more acutely due to the highly regulated nature of their operations, including ECEC. 


“The business community in NSW is facing its most significant workforce challenge in more than 50 years,” Business NSW Chief Executive Daniel Hunter said.  


“The survey results clearly indicate it is a whole of workforce issue – with almost half of businesses reporting that it is as equally difficult to fill entry level positions as experienced roles,” he added.   


To combat the challenges, he praised the NSW Government for what he termed a heavy investment in a “homegrown skills pipeline” and the acceleration of fee free training to help more people get the skills they need for the jobs we need to fill. 


“The recent NSW Government announcement of a further 70,000 fee free training spots – which is on top of the 100,000 fee free apprenticeships – will deliver job ready builders, hairdressers, carpenters, chefs, electricians and workers in the early childhood and aged care sectors. But training takes time and action is needed now to support businesses who are crying out for staff,“ Mr Hunter continued.


As such, the report identifies further key areas for action, primarily at a Federal level, including: 


  • Increased Vocational Education and Training (VET) funding in the new National Agreement for Skills to bring down the costs of training. 
  • An indefinite extension to the hugely successful Boosting Apprentice Commencements (BAC) initiative. 
  • Introducing or extending initiatives to support people into work. 
  • Simplifying the migration system, increasing skilled migrant numbers, reducing employer fees and cutting visa processing times. 


Mr Hunter and Business NSW would like to see the Prime Minister increase the number of skilled migrant workers, while also cutting the complexity, time and cost for businesses to bring people to NSW, and encourage the return of more working holiday makers and international students to make a contribution. 


“We simply do not have the workers to meet the needs of our businesses and coordinated action is needed now to fill those gaps,” he said in closing.   


Business NSW, formerly the NSW Business Chamber, is the peak policy and advocacy body which has been representing businesses in NSW since 1826.

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