Small firms set to be hit by skills shortage

Predictions of another skills shortage could force small businesses to think outside the square when hiring staff, including increasing the skilled migration intake.

 

According to KPMG’s Skilled Migration Survey 2010, recruiting skilled migrants is an increasing trend.

 

The survey reveals the practices of Australian companies in the recruitment and retention of skilled migrant workers under the Federal Government’s 457-visa program.

 

The program enables employers to recruit foreign workers in approved occupations for up to four years.

 

Recent figures from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship show that the number of 457 primary visa holders in Australia is 68,400.

 

More than half of the survey respondents expect to hire additional workers under this scheme in the current financial year.

 

KPMG head of migration practice Karen Waller says the problem of skills shortages is particularly pressing because the economy has returned to positive consumer sentiment and unemployment continues to fall.

 

Waller says the 457-visa offers businesses flexibility in meeting temporary skill shortages, and offers both employers and workers a “try-before-you-buy” system.

 

In another bid to attract and retain talent, Brisbane-based recruitment and HR consulting firm Vantage Human Capital is holding a series of free seminars to provide SMEs with low or no cost staff retention strategies.

 

Vantage Human Capital seminar leader Kate Klease says a staff retention strategy can provide any business with multiple benefits including reduction in staff turnover, reduced recruitment and training costs, increased productivity, and increased business profitability.

 

“Retention strategies are not just about tossing freebies around; they are a sound commercial decision that, if done correctly, will make your business more profitable,” Klease says.

 

Klease’s staff retention tips include:

 

1. Recruitment: Examine your current staff. Are some people outstanding in their jobs? What type of people seem to enjoy your workplace, what common values do they have with your business?

 

2. Culture: What culture will create the most effective, productive environment for your business and ensure an enjoyable working experience for staff? What type of environment do your staff want to work in and what do they love/hate about work?

 

3. Plan and budget: Based on your knowledge of the business, decide on a retention initiative budget that is realistic and achievable.

 

4. Measure: Give your retention initiatives time to work. You can use simple HR metrics such as staff turnover, absenteeism or morale as a measure.

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