Will there or won’t there be enough labour?

By September 22, 2020 No Comments

By Melissa Denning

Labour appears to be the hot topic at the moment. Nardia and Russell are talking about it most mornings. AM often has a news item about it and Belinda is always interested to hear what is happening. Jennifer from The West has also written some great pieces in the last couple of weeks.  What we do know is that we don’t have any clear data.

The number of Working Holiday Makers in Australia has reduced by over 40 per cent since March, down from the standard (approx.) 145,000 to (approx.) 85,000. Then take out those that are over East and those that are working in the tourism sector plus add those that have done their “88-days”, the numbers are dwindling more and more. 

The forecast says we are going to need approximately 5,000 workers in Spring. Will we have enough? We just don’t know.

On 23 July, vegetablesWA, Berries Australia and Pomme hosted a webinar to explore some of the options available to growers. Not everything may work for everyone, or maybe you don’t even have a problem. These are just options available.

Harvest Trail – https://jobsearch.gov.au/harvest

The Harvest Trail is a website funded by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE). It is a free service offered to growers to advertise available positions. 

Rural Enterprises – hts@ruralenterprises.com.au

Bernice at Rural Enterprises is available to assist in finding workers for your business. Rural Enterprises have the Harvest Office based in Vasse. This office is linked to the Harvest Trail website and again is a free service offered by DESE. 

Studium – https://www.studium.work/jobsinfoodandag

Studium has formed a partnership with the Department of Primary Industries to assist growers in finding workers. Based on the premise of job matching, Studium allows you to search for a specific skill rather than trolling through huge numbers of resumes.

The conversation was very robust and there was an opportunity for a number of industry members to speak and offer their thoughts and ideas. Here are a few of the ideas that were mentioned:

  • Offering schools hours so Mums can pick
  • Paying bonuses if workers stay a little longer
  • Contacting another “off-season” grower and recommending workers – on the thought that when they finish there, they will return to you for your next season
  • Offer accommodation, where possible
  • Work with the hostels in the area to be recognised as a “good” employer
  • Contact the local schools to see about school leavers

DESE have also been hosting Job Fairs in regional towns, if one pops up near you go along. They are free for employers to attend. Bernice and I from Rural Enterprises will be attending the one in Bunbury on Tuesday, 18 August.

The webinar is available on the vegetablesWA YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGtWGWXWhIg&t=14s