The ACT has recorded the highest unemployment rate of any state and territory, yet businesses consistently report that they can’t find the skills and workers they need.” said Chamber CEO Graham Catt.

“There’s clearly a major mismatch between the jobs available and the skills of those seeking work. And as the hospitality, retail, events, and other sectors that were most impacted by lockdown come back to life, we’ll see the situation worsen and quickly reach crisis point again.”

Employment data released by the ABS last week showed that the ACT lost 25,178 jobs in the past 12 months and now has the highest unemployment rate in Australia, at 6.6 per cent, ahead of both NSW and Victoria. New data also shows that the ACT three-month rolling average for online job ads to the end of October 2021 was 6,735 – 40 per cent higher than the long-term average of 4,803.

“There’s clearly a challenge here. Businesses need help to find the right staff. Jobseekers need assistance connecting with these businesses, many of whom are small or medium-sized. And governments need to create the policy frameworks that allow businesses to get on with the task of creating jobs.”

The Chamber welcomed the ACT Government’s initiative in launching a grants program to attract skilled workers to the ACT, with a focus on innovation and collaboration. It says however that what is still missing, and increasingly urgent, is commitment to and investment in a long-term skills and workforce strategy.

“We need a clear plan that sets out how we’ll address these challenges through policy and investment over the next five – ten years. We think it’s also the right time to consider how Canberra’s value proposition is marketed nationally, and internationally.”

“It’s critical that the plan is developed through genuine collaboration between government, industry and the education sector,” said Mr Catt. “Until we start to think and plan strategically for the long term, our struggle with the challenges of finding skilled worker will continue to be a barrier to business growth and the ACT economy.”

Media Contact:

Graham Catt, CEO, Canberra Business Chamber T: 02 6247 4199