04/02/2011 - 13:25

Skills shortage to push up wages: survey

04/02/2011 - 13:25


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Skills shortages and strong employment growth are set to push up wages to boom levels in Western Australia, according to research by two different employment analysts.

Skills shortages and strong employment growth are set to push up wages to boom levels in Western Australia, according to research by two different employment analysts.

International recruitment consultancy Robert Walters' annual global salary survey indicated contract and permanent hiring across all sectors would increase, with temporary labour likely to be needed to bridge a gap caused by an economy close to full employment.

Robert Walters Australia managing director James Nicholson said resources states would experience the highest level of demand.

"We anticipate that Queensland and Western Australia will replicate the levels of demand and related salary inflation seen in previous boom times, provided major investment projects continue in these areas and the Asian economies continue to grow," Mr Nicholson said.

"The strength of the Australian economy will also encourage more overseas-based organisations to consider expanding their operations into the country, which will cause further strains on labour supply."

Mr Nicholson said businesses would need to focus on staff retention and consider alternative sources for candidates.

"Firms will need to be alert to market rates and competitive forces, as well as engage and communicate with high-performers, in order to retain their top talent," he said.

"In addition, organisations who are prepared to hire specialist skills from overseas will secure quality candidates."

Meanwhile, new research has shown a softening of Australia's skills shortage experienced in the last quarter of 2010 had started to reverse, with natural disasters significantly increasing labour demand.

According to the Clarius Skills Index, demand for skilled labour is already above what is normally experienced in the early part of a year.

"While the threat of a skills shortage had a temporary reprieve, we expect recent natural disasters will quickly turn that around and we will have greater demand for skills stretching over several quarters," Clarius chief operating officer Kym Quick said.

"It is important that to alleviate the situation, the Government fast tracks both skills training programs and a greater flexibility of the skilled migrant visa program to meet escalating demands for skilled workers. We have been calling for changes to both for at least two years."

Ms. Quick said that while the natural disaster impacts are causing sharp increases in demands for certain skills there is an economic upside to the disasters.

"The floods across the east coast, particularly in Queensland, are expected to have an immediate cost to the economy, estimated at $30 billion , including $1.6 billion to repair and replace infrastructure and homes.

"But it is also likely to have a stimulatory effect for the construction and associated sectors as homes and infrastructure are rebuilt."

Ms. Quick also noted that the resources boom has seen the demand for miners continue to increase, along with accountants and lawyers, as firms search for future leaders.

In line with the increased demand, these occupations are expected to receive the highest pay increases in 2011



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