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Skills shortages in Australian workforce filled by poaching and training, more than overseas workers

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MORE than a quarter of Victorian businesses affected by changes to 457 Visas for foreign workers say
they will look to employ Australian workers, a survey by the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and
Industry indicates.

Of 323 Victorian businesses responding to the latest Survey of Business Trends and Prospects, 60 percent said they invest in training or poach employees from their competitors to fill skills gaps.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Mark Stone AM said the survey
revealed how prevalent skills gaps are, with 35 percent of respondents having difficulty hiring skilled
Australian workers, but just nine per cent used the skilled migration visas to hire qualified workers.

“Our findings show that more than a third of surveyed businesses are training up their existing workers
and a quarter were actively seeking to attract skilled employees from local competitors,” he said.

“The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is calling for better alignment between the
education system such as vocational education training and other pathways to align with what
industries need to succeed.

“The key is for employers to be able to recruit from a qualified and trained pool of candidates in
Australia without having to look offshore to fill vital skilled roles.”

The building and construction sector is having the most difficulty hiring skilled Australian workers (54
per cent struggling to hire staff), followed by business services (44 percent) and education, health and
community services (42 percent).

Other findings from the survey included:

 Retailers and wholesalers are operating in a very difficult climate, with many forced to
constantly discount products in an attempt to boost sales and combat falls in profits.

 Confidence in the Australian economy weakened by one percentage point over the first six
months of the year, this fall was led by metropolitan-based businesses.

 Over the past two quarters, confidence in the Victorian economy also rose by four percentage
points.

“Victorian businesses are operating in a tough climate, and need support to address and fill their skills
shortages whether that be through accredited training or non-accredited training,” Mr Stone said.

About the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, established in 1851, is the most influential business organisation in Victoria, informing and servicing more than 15,000 members, customers and clients around the state.

www.victorianchamber.com.au

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