ABS data points to ongoing workforce crisis
The Sector > Jobs News > ABS data points to ongoing workforce crisis – the impact is bigger than ECEC

ABS data points to ongoing workforce crisis – the impact is bigger than ECEC

by Freya Lucas

September 29, 2023

Australia’s persistent worker shortage crisis has been described as “a handbrake on vital economic growth,” by Saxon Davidson, Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, as new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows there are over 390,000 job vacancies across the nation, and that one in five Australian businesses cannot find the workers they need. 


In certain sectors and industries, such as early childhood education and care (ECEC), the crisis is more acute, and impacts the capacity of workers in other sectors to be available to complete their job roles. 


Job vacancy levels remain almost twice as high as they were three years ago, Mr Davidson continued, noting that Australia’s job vacancies have remained at over 350,000 since May 2021.


“While it is encouraging that job vacancies have reduced slightly, the job vacancy level still remains 72 per cent above the pre-covid mark from February 2020,” Mr Davidson explained.


Recent analysis by the Institute of Public Affairs found if tax and red tape barriers preventing pensioners, veterans and students from working were removed, job vacancies in each geographic zone across the nation could decrease by over 60 per cent.


“Australians have been aware of our ageing population for a considerable period, yet governments of all political stripes have failed to undertake serious reforms to remove the barriers preventing those who want to work from getting work,” Mr Davidson continued.


“Economic analysis by the IPA has found that Australia’s entrenched worker shortage crisis is costing Australians $32 billion in foregone wages and the Federal Government $7 billion in foregone income tax revenue,” said Mr Davidson.


“Getting pensioners, veterans and students into the workforce is a simple and effective policy measure that is good for them and good for Australia.”


To read the IPA’s worker shortage research, click here

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