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The labour dilemma facing businesses: a shortage of job-ready candidates

There were at least 166,000 job vacancies across Australia in December, indicating substantial labour demand from the business community. That said, employers are struggling to fill around 30% of skilled job vacancies. With 720,000 unemployed Australians looking for full- or part-time work, there’s plenty of untapped labour. So, why do so many vacancies remained unfilled?

Part of the problem is a lack of work-ready job candidates. The Department of Employment has found that for each skilled vacancy, there are (on average) 11.5 applicants, and while 7.4 held relevant qualifications only 1.9 applicants are deemed ‘suitable’. Why are so few qualified candidates deemed ‘suitable’? Candidates don’t have the level of experience employers are after or they lack important employability skills (e.g. communication skills, teamwork mindset, English proficiency).


The Australian Government’s $6.6 billion job placement program, jobactive, helps employers address a mismatch between job vacancies and job-ready candidates. Employers can tap into a network of jobactive providers from over 1,700 locations across Australia to connect with screened and job-ready candidates that fit their business needs.

Employers can approach their local jobactive provider for tailored recruitment services at no cost to their business. Alternatively, they can advertise vacancies through the jobactive website or free app (available from iTunes and Google Play). To ensure a supply of job-ready candidates for these businesses, jobactive providers work with reliable and ambitious job seekers to help them obtain the skills local employers need and overcome barriers to employment.

There are financial incentives for business that employ job seekers through jobactive. Businesses that meet the eligibility criteria, can access wage subsidies of up to $10,000 by hiring mature age workers (50+) or workers aged 15 to 24 years of age.  Meanwhile, businesses that hire eligible job seekers who are 25 to 29 year of age, principal carer parents, in long-term unemployment or indigenous can obtain up to $6,500 in wage subsidies.

Success stories

The employment relationships facilitated by jobactive have been mutually beneficial. There are career progression opportunities for job seekers and businesses gain access to workers who are eager to excel.

Jessica, a Byron Bay mother of three, had been absent from the workforce for two years while she cared for her youngest two children. When she decided to find employment again, she found it challenging due to her parental obligations – she was only available between 9am and 3pm on work days, and not during school holidays.

By connecting with jobactive, Jessica could obtain work experience with Elements of Byron while she undertook a Diploma of Beauty Therapy. After completing her work experience hours, Jessica was offered employment with the resort, working in the reception area. She aspires to secure a position in the spa department once she completes her diploma.

Elements of Byron General Manager Leon Pink praises Jessica for her willingness to work across multiple departments at the resort, explaining that it demonstrates diversity and enthusiasm. He says she has a bright future at the resort.

When Kylesha, relocated from Cairns to Sarina, a small town in Queensland, she had been unemployed for a year. Through jobactive, she connected with Mudth-Niyleta Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation, a local healthcare provider. Following six months of work experience performing administrative and maintenance tasks, she was brought on as an aged care employee, working two days a week while undertaking training in her field.

Kylesha credits the opportunity with developing her confidence and people skills, while the Mudth-Niyleta CEO, Sam Raciti says Kylesha’s personality, including her willingness ‘to give it a go’, is consistent with the corporation’s culture and the approach to delivering client programs.

Find your local jobactive provider today.

For more information on how jobactive can help you in the hiring process, watch the below video ‘Puma Service Station’:

Wayne is the Site Manager for Puma Service Station on the Gold Coast. His local jobactive provider made things simple when he hired console operator Edward. If you’re looking for the right staff to fit your business, find out how jobactive can help – https:jobactive.gov.au/find-the-right-fit

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