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Santa needs more helpers: SMEs struggling to fill pre-holiday vacancies

Peak industry body the National Retail Association is calling on businesses to prepare for the tough competition for Christmas casuals this year, with many already kicking off recruitment campaigns in the face of labour shortages.

Retail is optimistic consumers will pick up spending momentum as the busy Christmas season approaches, but Interim Chief Executive Lindsay Carroll said the industry is reliant on sufficient labour being available across the whole supply chain.

“Santa is definitely going to need some more helpers this year. Vacancies across front line retail as well as fulfillment and delivery need to be filled to secure the workforce needed to meet the expected demand of cyber sales and Christmas shopping.”

Ms Carroll added that some businesses have already commenced recruitment campaigns much earlier than usual this year, and that’s because retail, like many other industries, retail has faced a critical labour shortage.

“The earlier businesses are advertising to fill these roles, the more hopeful they are to find staff. This is because unemployment in most states and territories is at an all-time low, so there are fewer job seekers in the market looking for work.’’

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The impacts of the border closures during Covid meant that the migrant workforce that both retail and hospitality rely on has not been as available as what it was in previous years.’’

“With 88 days to go until Christmas, if retailers haven’t started their Christmas recruitment campaign, they should start now and lean into the support available to help fill those critical vacancies.”

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