Over two thirds of large companies in Australia are willing to hire overseas staff to overcome skills shortages, according to a new survey.
Permanent staff numbers are on the increase and the pool of local talent appears to be drying up, as organisations battle with a tight labour market, according to a national survey from the Australian Institute of Management (AIM).
The AIM survey is based on the responses of 511 companies throughout Australia, covering over 300 job roles.
The survey reveals that 55.5 per cent of large companies in the 2012 Survey reported difficulties in recruiting some staff due to skills shortages, higher than that reported in the last year’s survey (49.7 per cent) and the 2010 survey (36.9 per cent).
Some 51.3 per cent of large companies reported that they already employ overseas workers, up from 48.7 per cent in the 2011.
Most commonly, this was to fill roles within the construction and engineering, marketing and sales, and in manufacturing.
Some 70 per cent of large companies across Australia said they would consider hiring staff from overseas to fill skills shortfalls.
Difficulties are most commonly being found recruiting at the professional and technical level and for technical and trade, sales and marketing, and construction and engineering jobs.
Some 61.9 per cent of large companies reported an (overall) increase, compared to 52.6 per cent in 2011 and 40.5 per cent in 2010.
Under 25 per cent of large companies reported a decrease in permanent staff numbers in the last year.
Matt Drinan, head of research for AIM in NSW and ACT, said the recent decision to grant the Roy Hill project an enterprise migration agreement has placed the spotlight on skills shortages in WA and the mining industry in particular.
“However, mining companies comprise a comparatively small proportion of Australia’s employers and our data indicates that the effects of the skills shortage is being felt across a broad range of industry sectors and job functions, nationally,” he said.
He said companies could also look at developing existing staff to help fill skill gaps within their businesses.
The survey highlighted that 93.5 per cent of large companies paid salary increases in the 2011–12, for at least some employees.
Western Australia recorded the highest average salary rise in that period at 4.7 per cent, while Victoria and Tasmania recorded the lowest (3.8 per cent).