New report shows Queensland employers pay 'record high' wage bills

Data says 'one in two businesses' invested more in wages

New report shows Queensland employers pay 'record high' wage bills

Queensland-based employers and businesses have recently recorded labour costs at an all-time high, with another increase underway in a month.

According to new data in the recent quarter, as wage bills kept increasing, more businesses have also secured more staff, with employment levels climbing upward.

In a media release, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) said that its Pulse Survey for the March 2022 quarter has shown employment levels increased 2.9 index points, with labour costs increased 5.6 index points, with one in two businesses indicating they invested more in wages.  

CCIQ policy and advocacy manager Cherie Josephson said that the numbers showed what businesses had to do to address the shortage in the labour market, that is, to increase the offers in their employment contracts.

“Businesses have been paying premium wages to attract and retain suitably skilled staff,” Josephson said. “While March quarter data shows businesses were able to secure more staff, it meant their wage bills increased to a record high of 71.4 index points. The last time labour costs were close to these levels was in 2008,” she added.

The research also showed business confidence in the local and national economies had improved. “We know these improved results are off a low base following the December quarter when business confidence declined considerably as a result of COVID disruptions and when many businesses were struggling to find staff,” Josephson said.  

However, according to CCIQ’s report, recruitment and retention of qualified employees were “significant constraints on business growth,” as seen in early 2022, adding that the level of demand and the need for political and economic stability are also up on the list of concerns for employers.

CCIQ’s report also said that seven in ten businesses have also experienced high operating costs in the said quarter.  “Global supply chain disruptions combined with rising fuel prices have led to significant price rises for business inputs, which are on top of day-to-day business costs such as rent and insurance,” Josephson said.  

Finally, the CCIQ report then published recommendations that include a series of workforce measures, including incentives for upskilling in traditional and emerging sectors, methods to reinvigorate the regions through migration and relocation incentives, and improved funding arrangements to support education and training programs.

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