Almost three quarters of Australian small businesses plan to recruit more staff in the coming 12 months, new research shows, while 65% of small businesses plan on giving their staff a pay rise.
The research comes from employment law consultancy Employsure, which surveyed 653 bosses of Australian small businesses.
According to the survey, 74% of small businesses plan to recruit more staff in the coming 12 months, compared to 57% in 2011.
Meanwhile, 65% of the bosses surveyed plan to giving their staff a pay rise in the next 12 months, compared to just 36% last year.
Employsure managing director Edward Mallet says confidence is clearly returning, with many entrepreneurs more enthusiastic about employing staff than they have been in the past.
“Australian employers, driven by the SME market, are creating more jobs per capita than in any other developed country… We should give them all the support [they need],” Mallet says.
“Many Australian bosses [are] admitting they will give their staff a pay rise this year. Many of the companies we have spoken to have been reluctant giving a raise in the last 12 months, mainly because of the economic situation.”
But according to Mallet, most employers have not forgotten how hard their staff work, and are now keen to reward them for their efforts.
“The first opportunity of a reverse in fortune and… employees are getting the increase they deserve. Employers are rewarding their staff for their loyalty; they see it as a priority,” he says.
“Acknowledging employees for their efforts is also important as this factors into commitment to their job and reflects on the type of business employers are running.”
Mallet says employers need to remember their biggest asset is their staff.
“It’s great to see employees are getting the raise they deserve,” he says.
“This is despite Australia being the most expensive country in the world in which to employ staff, with the Australian minimum wage almost 100% above the UK minimum.”
“It is more important than ever to make sure employers are getting the best out of staff, carefully planning their capacity and ensuring that businesses are not carrying passengers.”
While employers should indeed reward their hard-working staff, a separate report shows almost half of Australia’s workforce believes they are not adequately equipped or skilled to do their job as well as they could.
The finding comes from Leadership Management Australasia, which conducted an online workplace competency self-assessment.
Analysis of 3,000 responses shows 37% of executives/senior managers and 42% of employees rate their use of effective leadership and management practices as average or below average.
According to LMA executive chairman Grant Sexton, the research highlights an “incredible opportunity”.
“In a diminishing labour pool, there is a huge opportunity here to achieve more with the people we’ve already got,” Sexton says.
“Clearly organisations are not getting the full bang for their buck… They’re paying full wages but not getting a full return. It’s not that people don’t want to be highly productive, it’s just they don’t know how to be.”