One in five businesses still do not have sufficient staff, and for those caught short, the search for talent is getting tougher, according to the latest ABS Business Conditions and Sentiments report.

The ABS report, which was conducted via a phone survey last month, found that medium businesses were more likely than large and small businesses to report staff shortages (34 per cent compared with 31 per cent and 17 per cent).

For businesses with insufficient staff, the majority (84 per cent) said that the inability to find suitable staff was a contributing factor, a steep rise on January figures (69 per cent). 

Data from staffing software company Deputy, meanwhile, showed rostered shifts not being worked were on the rise in April at 5.6 per cent, up from 4.5 per cent in March.

“Many businesses continue to face unprecedented challenges when it comes to filling shifts,” Deputy CEO and co-founder Ashik Ahmed said.

“This increase may be attributed to staff being unfit to work as a result of the second Omicron wave or taking extended time off during the school holiday and Easter long weekend.

“As we gear up to a federal election, this is the opportunity for the government to prioritise policies that solve these issues, whether it’s funding training programs, encouraging global talent to move to Australia, or investing in digital transformation in the workplace.”

According to Ahmed, the staffing shortages are just one of many challenges facing businesses alongside the rising cost of goods and supply chain strain.

This is backed up by ABS figures which show more than half of all businesses experienced increases in the cost of doing business over the three months to April 2022, with almost a quarter reporting costs had increased to a great extent.

In April 2022, more than two in five businesses (41 per cent) said they were experiencing supply chain disruptions, the same as in March and February, but higher than the same time last year. 

By industry, retail at 84 per cent and accommodation and food services at 67 per cent, had the highest proportion of businesses experiencing supply chain disruptions.

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