15/10/2008 - 13:12

Women key to labour shortage: CCIWA

15/10/2008 - 13:12


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Almost 120,000 extra workers could be made available in Western Australia if more women were encouraged to join the workforce, according to a new report from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA.

Almost 120,000 extra workers could be made available in Western Australia if more women were encouraged to join the workforce, according to a new report from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA.

The report found WA could meet up to 80 per cent of its forecast 150,000 worker shortfall, if the participation rate for female workers was lifted to the average of the top 10 developed nations.

It also recommends a number of incentives to bring more women into the labour force, such as flexible working hours, equal pay, affordable childcare (including salary sacrificing), paid parental leave and education and training.


A statement from the CCI is attached below:


Women hold one of the keys to WA's labour shortages

Statement by CCI Chief Executive James Pearson

More than 100,000 job vacancies could be filled across Western Australia if a greater effort was made to encourage more women to take advantage of the many job opportunities available in the State's growing economy.

The finding is contained in a new report released today by the State's peak business organisation, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia.

With labour shortages remaining the biggest challenge for most Western Australian businesses, identifying ways to increase the size of the local labour force, and providing additional incentives to attract and retain workers, has become essential to ensure ongoing business growth.

CCI has already calculated that WA will need an extra 400,000 workers over the next decade, but there will be a shortfall of 150,000 workers based on current population growth rates, and participation levels in the labour force.

Australia is not among the world's best when it comes to attracting and retaining women in the workforce. CCI's research finds that if WA's female participation rate were to increase to the average of the top 10 developed nations, WA could account for most of its expected labour shortfall.

The Women in the Workforce discussion paper reveals that while increases have occurred in recent years in the number of female workers in Australia, women continue to be underrepresented in the workforce.

Western Australia is competing on the international stage for investment, wealth creation, and people. We must develop, and implement, policies that allow business and industry to attract the people they need to realise their full potential.

Therefore, we must raise the bar and aspire for greatness to avoid being overtaken by our international competitors.

The Women in the Workforce paper makes a number of recommendations to encourage more women into the workforce, including;

- Flexible working arrangements - is the single most important measure to attract and retain female workers. Flexible working hours help employees balance their work, family and other commitments.

- Salary - policies to address pay disparities between men and women may increase the potential supply of labour. Earnings among women remain considerably lower than for men, largely due to the higher proportion of men in management and senior roles, and the high representation of men in the higher paying industry sectors such as mining and construction.

- Childcare - affordable and accessible childcare is critical to ensure that working parents can balance their work and family commitments. The report also recommends that changes be made that allow childcare to be salary sacrificed, in the same way that tax benefits are provided for cars, superannuation and computers.

- Paid parental leave - encourages women to remain in the workforce, and return to work after childbirth. CCI believes that the cost of paid parental leave should not directly fall on employers, and supports a government funded and administered scheme.

- Education and Training -that improves the knowledge and skills of women of all ages will encourage greater female participation and engagement with the labour market. Education and training should be undertaken throughout a person's working life, not just at the early stages of life.

We have a historic opportunity to attract and retain more women into the local workforce. CCI looks forward to working with State and Federal Governments to develop, and implement, a range of strategies to help business and industry overcome the current labour shortages.


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