The worker shortage has hit crisis point and desperate employers are trying to out bid each other as a way to attract new staff.
An Australian hospitality operator is desperate to find staff for the festive season and has resorted to offering a $5000 sign-on bonus to beat out competition as the sector faces a worker shortage crisis.
The Sydney Restaurant Group, which operates 15 venues including high-end venues such as Aqua Dining, Ormeggio at The Spit and Ripples Milsons Point, needs an extra 200 staff to operate over the summer at full capacity and has turned to bonuses to find them.
The strategy could see the group shell out a whopping $1 million worth of bonuses for new staff.
Co-owner of Sydney Restaurant Group Daniel Drakopoulos said there are currently only 200 people on their payroll after the sector experienced a “very hard” two and a half years, which saw trade impacted “heavily”.
While Covid and its related restrictions have now ended, Mr Drakopoulos said the challenge of filling hospitality positions was just beginning forcing the company to offer up the $5000 bonus.
“Everyone is in the same boat with labour shortages in the industry at an all time high at the moment and it’s very hard to find staff that are willing to work in this current climate with what’s going on,” he told news.com.au.
“We have seen other companies put up $1000 and $2000 sign-on bonuses and we see a lot of the companies are doing that and there is no point of difference. We are willing to pay the $5000 to try and get a larger share of these staff.”
The bonus would be paid out to all new full time staff members with the company recruiting for roles from dishwashers to managers, as well as waiters, bar staff and chefs.
“It’s over a six-month period they will need to work to be eligible for the $5000 and for the first three months they are eligible for $1500 and at the end of six months they would receive the remaining $3500,” Mr Drakopoulos added.
Failure to fill the roles would mean the group would be unable to get through the festive season “unscathed” he said and would need to look at closing down some services.
He added experience wasn’t necessary to apply for the roles but “an amazing attitude” and willingness to learn.
The unemployment rate in Australia currently sits at a record 48 year low at 3.5 per cent with the Reserve Bank of Australia forecasting that it could fall as low as 3.4 per cent in the coming months.
Around nine in 10 Aussies business reported a lack of workers was impacting on business, a recent quarterly survey from National Australia Bank (NAB) found.
“Businesses owners are crying out for more workers – people on the shop floor, labourers to finish off jobs, drivers, pharmacy workers – you’d be hard pressed to find a business owner who hasn’t had trouble finding people to get the job done,” he said.
By state, 43 per cent of small and medium enterprise in WA reported labour shortages had a very significant impact followed by 37 per cent in Victoria, 35 per cent in Queensland and 33 per cent in NSW.
Australia’s staff shortage crisis is contributing to company collapses in the construction, hospitality and finance industries with warnings that an “insolvency flood” is just beginning, experts said.
Gareth Gammon, Insolvency Australia director, said the skills shortage will be one of the ongoing triggers of insolvencies in the coming months with its specialists already witnessing a spike in companies going under.
“We’re in uncharted waters; staff shortages are endemic across multiple industries and the unemployment rate is at a record low of 3.5 per cent,” he said.
“This is one of the greatest challenges being faced by businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises.”