Qld skills shortage can inhibit innovation

According to the MYOB Enterprise Insights Report 2018 Queensland enterprises are the most optimistic about economic growth compared to other states.

Across Australia, two out of five mid-sized enterprises (those who earn between $5 million and $10 million in revenue) also said they expect the economy to improve this year.

Despite this optimism of economic growth some of the pressures the mid-sized businesses are facing is the need for more skilled workers. The report says the lack of skilled workers is the sector’s most significant business pressure followed by competitive activity, attracting new customers, price margins and profitability and finally late payments from Customers.



They face issues attracting staff, potentially affecting their prospects for growth and development.

The pressure is likely to increase as according to the report Australian enterprises are expecting to take on more staff over the next 12 months.  Over a third (34%) of respondents to the MYOB Enterprise report survey said they plan to increase full-time staff in 2018, and just under a third will be adding more part-time staff to their workplace.

The Australian Government Skill Shortage List Queensland (last amended in March 2018) reports that of the 40 occupation groups, 26 were rated as a State-wide shortage. According to their definition skill shortages exist when employers are unable to fill or have considerable difficulty filling vacancies, or significant specialised skill needs within that occupation.

Unfortunately, the knock-on effect from this is hindering the ability to innovate. Almost a third (29%) of enterprises across Australia said a lack of skilled staff was their main barrier to innovation, followed by lack of time and cost to develop. This means that business owners are unwilling to consider investing in new technologies or research and development necessary to help them take their business to the next level.

Business owners will need to mitigate the effect of staff shortages by investing in training, and the Government needs to make it more enticing for businesses to take trainees on. It’s a big investment taking on unskilled workers as it can take six to 12 months to get them up to speed. That’s a lot of unproductive time and cost.

Therefore whilst it’s great news that Qld businesses are generally optimistic about the future, they will need to be prepared to think outside the square in order to stay ahead of the game.

Things to consider:

  • Take on more unskilled workers and train them up and/or upskill your existing staff
  • Seek a balance between doing as much as you can to achieve the outcome you desire with the resources you have and exploring new ways to enhance your offering on a budget that suits your organisation.
  • Act like s start-up – there are loads of tools that can help you innovate that don’t cost huge sums of money.
  • Consider a cloud-based ERP solution such as MYOB Advanced which can save your hours and therefore money by tightening up your processes and allowing you to run your business more efficiently