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Australian businesses record 20% drop in shifts per year, study reveals
Mon, 20th Nov 2023

The latest Sidekicker Jobs Index has shown an overall 20% year-on-year (YoY) decline in shifts per business in Australia, with Victoria experiencing the largest decrease across all states at 31% YoY. According to the data analysed from over 27,000 workers across more than 7,000 businesses from various sectors, the labour shortages appear to be easing. This assessment was delivered by Thomas Amos, the CEO and Co-founder of Sidekicker.

The impact of this decline, unfortunately, has not been evenly distributed across all sectors. Aged Care has been the most drastically affected, witnessing a dramatic 66% YoY decrease in shifts per business, accompanied by a 41% quarter-on-quarter drop. The Hospitality sector also showed a significant fall, being 36% compared to the past year. Surprisingly, for the first time since the pandemic began, New Zealand businesses have requested more shifts than their Australian counterparts, as shown in the Index.

Interestingly, the expected seasonal uptick from June to September in the Hospitality and Events sectors did not materialise. In fact, the total number of shifts saw only 11% quarterly growth compared to the pre-Covid levels, which had previously seen a 50% quarter-on-quarter increase. According to Amos, this might be a result of rising interest rates affecting the demand within these sectors.

Despite the sizeable decline in shifts per business in Aged Care, applications per shift have astonishingly grown 200% YoY. This has been driven by the relaxation of labour pressures from 2022 and an increase in award wages by 5.75%, followed by another one-off raise of 15% for 250,000 aged care workers in June 2023. However, the data reveals that the average worker rates only grew by 6% YoY in September, indicating the market was offering rates above legal minimums to attract and retain nurses and carers already in 2022.

On a brighter note, the Warehousing and Logistics sector has seen an overall 12% YoY increase in the number of shifts per business. Applications per shift rose by 8% YoY, down from a growth rate of 21% in the June quarter. Amos believes that supply levels have normalised and, currently, the market is well-balanced.