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Filling vacancies a struggle for South Australian businesses


Business owners regularly cite staffing as one of the most challenging aspects of their roles.

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According to the 2019 BDO South Australian State Business Survey, sourcing, retaining and managing the right people, with the right skills can be difficult.

For businesses without the capacity to outsource their HR function or the means to employ someone in-house, it can be truly daunting.

South Australian businesses face a particularly tough employee market, with many of our skilled and experienced talent finding higher rates of pay and more opportunities interstate.

The issue isn’t a lack of people seeking work: South Australia’s unemployment rate was 6.3 per cent in September, markedly above the national average 5.2 per cent.

Rather, we are facing a lack of available job seekers that have the skills our businesses require. There is a disconnect between the two groups that is yet to be effectively bridged.

The 2019 BDO South Australian State Business Survey results showed 44 per cent of local businesses are having trouble finding and retaining suitable staff and 50 per cent believe graduates don’t have the required skills.

Justin Counihan, Managing Director of SA video and film production company Floodlight Media, says in the creative industries in particular, the quality of graduates is high but attracting creatives with two to three years’ experience to roles is a struggle.

The latest Vacancy Report, which publishes internet vacancy data on a monthly basis, shows that over the year to September 2019, the greatest decrease in advertised jobs nationally has been for those at the lowest end of the skill spectrum – level 5.

In South Australia, this group had the second greatest decrease in advertised jobs while advertised jobs requiring skill level 1, (the highest), increased by 11.5 per cent.

Floodlight are currently recruiting for the highly skilled positions of a graphic designer and production manager, to join their permanent staff of more than 15.

Despite offering staff a flexible work environment, the use of equipment and time off for personal creative projects, they find themselves continuously in competition with the larger cities where the greater concentration of creative and film work is located.

Counihan says the key to our creative industries doing well is for SA to attract more head offices of major companies to the state:

“The larger cities have more head offices, where the marketing departments of major companies are located. This creates a hub of creative companies and talent in the larger cities. Adelaide punches well above its weight in terms of creative professionals but we need to attract head offices back into the city to ensure marketing dollars are being spent on SA companies.”

He says there are a number of unique advantages to South Australia that make doing business or working here worthwhile.

“The quality talent that do stay really rise to the top and it’s given us an opportunity to work with some highly talented professionals. The lifestyle and environment can’t be beaten and you know the people that love it here are keen to stay.”

This article is sponsored by BDO.

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