Skills shortage concerns majority of WA resource businesses


More than 90 per cent of Western Australian businesses in the resources sector have identified skill shortages as a barrier, according to the latest report from the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIWA).

Driller, mechanics and technicians were highlighted as the top-three occupations in demand in the resources sector, while carpenters, tradespeople and operators were identified as the top-three shortages in the construction industry.

According to the CCIWA Business Confidence Survey for the March Quarter, the buoyant mood at the end of last year has largely dissipated, with confidence in the short and longer term suffering its largest drop since the initial COVID shock two years ago.

The depth of the supply chain impacts is reflected in 85 per cent of businesses reporting they have been impacted by supply issues, including 68 per cent suffering higher costs and almost half (48 per cent) experiencing delays.

Finding workers remains a huge impediment with 82 per cent of those surveyed struggling to fill a particular skillset – the highest since CCIWA started canvassing this issue 12 months ago.

“On the one hand, many construction businesses are facing significant project delays and cost blow outs, underpinned primarily by ongoing supply chain disruptions and rising inflationary pressures,” the report stated.

“On the other, confidence is being supported by a full pipeline of housing construction.

“For businesses in the resources sector, ongoing supply chain disruptions, rising input costs and mounting geopolitical tensions with our largest trading partner may have taken the heat out of confidence this quarter.

“Concerns about skilled labour shortages were most acute amongst businesses in the resources sector – with more than nine out of 10 (93 per cent) identifying skills shortages as a barrier.”

While there has been some short-term relief from increased fuel prices, operating costs continue to rise and the prospect of interest rate rises are weighing on the mind of one in five business owners.

The CCIWA’s latest report can be found here.

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