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Struggling to Hire Casuals?

Published August 25, 2022 (last updated on July 2, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Content Writer


There’s no doubt the retail and hospitality industries have been hard hit over the past few years amidst COVID and its ensuing challenges. Lockdowns, restrictions, border closures and chronic labour shortages have made running a business extremely difficult. The retail and hospitality industries are one of the largest employers of casual workers but hiring casuals has become impossible.  

Chronic Labour Shortage

The chronic labour shortage is getting worse. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in May 2022 there were 40,300 vacant jobs in the retail sector – a staggering increase of 38.5% (11,200 vacant jobs) compared to February last year. But it isn’t just the retail industry struggling to find staff, with an incredible 51,900 job vacancies in accommodation and food services currently (May 2022).  

The current labour shortage is attributed to the lack of overseas and student workers, due to border closures and strict international travel restrictions. With labour shortage at crisis levels, retail and hospitality businesses cannot operate to their full potential.  

As Christmas fast approaches, hiring casual staff is a pressing concern for a lot of business owners. Moving into the busiest time of year for retail and hospitality businesses, staff shortages are a difficult reality to face, as they seek to rebuild after the devastation and disruption brought by COVID lockdowns and restrictions over the past few years.   

CEO of Australian Retailers Association Paul Zahra says, “Exacerbated by overseas and student workers missing from our economy, staff shortages along with rising business costs related to leasing, fuel, energy and supply chains, is pushing many small businesses to the brink.”   

Retaining Casual Employees

With demand for staff much higher than supply, business owners need to find unique ways to stand out when hiring a casual employee. Business owners are required to think outside the box and find new ways to make their business attractive to prospective staff. Some business owners have started offering cash incentives and perks to try to make their business more attractive when hiring casual staff.  

The retail and hospitality industries also deal with high staff turnover, so it’s not just a challenge hiring casual staff but also keeping them. While business owners can’t always control staff leaving, they can improve staff retention rates by having a good onboarding process, conducting effective training, and developing a good work culture.  

If you’re a business owner and you don’t have a good onboarding process in your business, you can download our free onboarding template here. It includes how to prepare your business with the right onboarding documents, tips to make your new staff feel welcome on their first day and practical ways to ensure they are a good fit for your business.   

Hiring Casuals

With Christmas just around the corner, now is the time to be thinking about how to attract casuals into your business. Casual employment is more complex than you may think, especially around correct payment and entitlements. Ensure you are across the ins and outs of how to hire a casual employee. Find out about your obligations as an employer and call Peninsula today.

Peninsula can help you with any questions you have about hiring and managing casual employees in your business. Call our 24/7 FREE Advice linetoday. 

Hiring Casuals?

Casual employment is more complicated than it seems! Make sure you know the ins and outs of hiring casuals and your obligations as an employer. Download our factsheet today!

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