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Small businesses feeling the pressure of skills shortages

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read
Small businesses feeling the pressure of skills shortages

Digital marketing company Localsearch has highlighted that Australian small to medium businesses (SMBs) are finding it hard to secure talent.

Over the last year, in excess of half of SMBs couldn’t fill advertised roles. Due to a lack of skills, over 60 per cent say they’re unable to keep up with day-to-day operations while more than 40 per cent say the skill shortage is impacting their business growth.

Executive chairman at Localsearch, Daniel Stoten said in a statement: “As the survey results illustrate, it’s clear that more needs to be done to ensure they [SMBs] can continue to prosper.”


“We operate in the technology industry, specifically through providing digital marketing presence solutions which are also being affected within the national skill shortage issues. What is more prevalent, though, and might be currently overlooked, is that the skills shortage issue affects all Australian businesses across all sectors regardless of the size of those businesses,” said Mr Stoten.

Localsearch says that SMBs make up in excess of 98 per cent of Australian businesses. Seventy-four per cent of SMBs noted that a lack of industry experience was their biggest issue when searching for employees, while thirty-three per cent said candidates without the right skills want higher than average pay.

Mr Stoten continued: “A construction firm up in the Gold Coast will need more labourers while a bakery down in Melbourne might need more SEO and website development assistance to be seen online and help with sales. We must continue to support and service these businesses with the tools we have available.”

Both the 2022 Jobs and Skills Summit and the 2022–23 federal budget highlighted skills shortages as an area of concern. The federal government said in the budget that they “have committed to develop a $1 billion one-year National Skills Agreement. The agreement will commence on 1 January 2023 and deliver 180,000 fee-free TAFE and community-based vocational education places throughout 2023.”

Commenting on Localsearch’s findings, Red Centre Technology Partners director, Craig Reed said: “As Central Australia and remote Northern Territory’s leading integrated solutions provider for IT and Technology, we have a number of businesses that rely on us to provide fast and effective support. As we continue to work through the skills shortage, we’re finding it increasingly difficult to do this.”

As Renata Bastalic previously stated for HR Leader in High tech skills shortage? Why it’s time for Australian businesses to step up to the plate: “We understand that now, more than ever, the experience we provide as an employer is critical in finding and keeping key talent.”

“We have a well-developed people strategy that we execute against – this includes the two Rs: recruitment and retention.”


Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.