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Thursday, January 20, 2022
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SKILLS SHORTAGE CONTINUES TO HURT HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY

Severe staffing shortages within the hospitality industry are seeing businesses within the region and across all of Victoria be forced to scale back their operation.

Even in the busier holiday period, restaurants and cafes alike are struggling to find staff, something that’s been a worry since the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

So what are the reasons for this shortage? With Australia’s borders closed, the usual influx of international working visas to the industry is well under its normal rate.

Combine that with the fact restaurants have had to deal with constantly shifting hours (with over 20 months of lockdowns) and their forced capacity limits, it’s no wonder the usual workforce has dried up.

As we get closer to the hospitality industry’s undoubtedly busiest time with Christmas parties and other festive events, owner of 360Q restaurant, Barry Iddles, was greatly concerned with the huge shortage moving into the summer season.

“I am hoping that we will have some quality applicants coming forward. But at the moment the positions that I have advertised, we have had almost zero response,” he said.

“I believe there are several factors why there is a shortage: No international students (or very few), no backpackers and the government funding of $750 a week up until last month gave people the ability to survive. Now that this has ended we may see a few fantastic people come back on”.

By the end of november there were a total of 54,426 jobs listed on SEEK.com.au, Victoria-wide. Of those, 7,011 were classified in the hospitality industry, equating to 12.9% of all jobs available.

With most of these relating to chefs, wait staff, bar staff and kitchen hands, we’re beginning to see hourly wages offered at heights not seen before in the industry. Dishwashers have even been offered as much as $90 per hour for their work! It’s speculated that these costs will inevitably be passed on to patrons.

NEW VISA CHANGES AIM TO EASE SKILLS SHORTAGES

The Australian Government will be rewarding the 20,000 odd skilled visa holders who stayed in the country during the Covid-19 pandemic, by granting them easier access to permanent residency.

Of the individuals eligible, the biggest winners are undoubtedly the skilled workers who were employed in the health and hospitality industries. These individuals will have already been primary holders of the temporary skill shortage visa and the recently discontinued 457 visa.

The skilled visa holders who currently work in the health and hospitality industry make up 20 percent of the potential new permanent residents.

Sean Harken

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