Australian hospitality sector risks crash if it can't fill 200,000 jobs

Calls grow louder for skilled migrants ahead of busy Summer holiday season

Australian hospitality sector risks crash if it can't fill 200,000 jobs
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There are more than 200,000 job vacancies in hospitality with restaurant and café owners scrambling to find workers before Christmas.

A report by industry employment platform Barcats said the most sought-after workers were kitchen staff (6500), baristas (6000), wait staff (5500) and bartenders (4500).

Barcats CEO Jeffrey Williams said the hospitality sector risked a “crash” over the busy summer holiday period.

He called on the Albanese government to urgently increase migration numbers.

“The reality is, if we don’t get workers back, customers will suffer,” he said.

“Customers face a 25 per cent increase in wait times, reservation unavailability, increased costs, limited menus and opening hours and a decline in service quality.”

The Albanese government announced in August an increase to the permanent migration cap from 160,000 to 195,000 for this financial year.

But Williams, whose organisation represents 13,000 vendors, it was not enough. He warned that the backlog in visa approvals meant migrants were arriving too slowly. Neil Perry, who already owns two restaurants, told The Australian he would not be able to open his third next year, as planned, unless worker numbers increased.

“The government needs to recognise that we are short a lot of people. We need to make the permanent residency visa broader, drop the fortress Australia attitude, and understand that we are in competition with the rest of the world for staff too,” he said.

A National Skills Commission study found 286 occupations had shortages nationally, compared to 153 occupations in 2021.

The report said that of the 20 largest employing occupations, more than half were now facing skills shortages.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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