Over 40,000 retail positions remain unfilled 

National Skills Week’s Chairman Brian Wexham has pointed out that a major labour shortage in the retail sector is making it harder for this large employer to flourish and provide the quality service experiences expected by today’s customers. 

Mr Wexham said: “Australian retailers simply can’t find enough staff be they back of house, frontline roles or more specialist positions in digital and other high-tech products. There were 40,300 vacant positions in retail trade in May, which was up 38.5 percent compared to February. 

The national popularity of online shopping has not reduced demand for retail workers at bricks and mortar stores. “The retail sector continues to advocate for mobilising more mature age workers and pensioners into the workforce. They also want accelerated training solutions and less immigration red tape to get more skilled foreign workers and international students into the country. The importance of childcare measures to help increase the participation of parents with young children has also been raised with government.” 

According to Paul Zahra, CEO Australian Retailers Association (ARA) the shortfall in people available to fill retail positions lost during lockdowns will require ongoing effort to change over the next few years. 

We need to connect more young Australians to a career in retail. Retail is one of the most exciting and diverse career paths, offering a wide range of roles from sales and customer service to sustainability and digital roles. Highlighting retail as a career is a key focus of our efforts as part of National Skills Week.