“We can’t find good employees. We can’t even get anyone to apply!”
This is what I am hearing every day when I speak with employers across a range of industries. Last week there were stories in the media about a shortage of truck drivers in Tasmania and the tourism industry seeking solutions to a workforce shortage in Tasmania. This is after the well-publicised shortage of farm labour and fruit pickers resulting in the Tasmanian government fully subsidising the cost of quarantine for overseas farmworkers.
So it was rather surprising to see the headline news story on Thursday: “Tasmania’s unemployment rate has jumped to the highest in the nation at 6.2% for April.” In addition, 2,500 jobs were lost in April and our underemployment rate rose to 8.6% which is also the worst in the nation.
How can this be possible?
Are we scared of hard work? Are we not fit enough to do physical work? Do we lack to discipline to work 8 hours every day? Is it too easy to survive without working?
Something is horribly wrong when we have to import workers when 14.8% of our potential workforce are either unemployed or working less hours than they want to work.
I expect that any and every one of those unemployed in the Great Depression would have enthusiastically accepted a job picking apples.