An overwhelming 90% of businesses expect to be affected by staffing shortages in 2023, according to Ai Group’s survey of Australian CEO Expectations for 2023.

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     (image courtesy AI Group)

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 "Cautiously optimistic':
         Innes Willox
       CEO Ai Group

AIG logo"While Australia's business leaders are cautiously optimistic for 2023, most are concerned about the impacts of skills shortages, inflation and supply chain disruptions,” said Ai Group CEO Innes Willox. 

"49 percent of business leaders expect conditions to be stronger in 2023 than 2022. But this optimism is tempered by a number of supply-side concerns.


“An overwhelming 90% of businesses expect to be affected by staffing shortages in 2023. These are most keenly felt in higher-skilled occupations, but are evident across all skill levels, industries and geographic locations.

“Finding and developing more skilled people locally and through
immigration remains a central workforce strategy. For example, 50% of businesses said they would increase investment in staff training next year to deal with skills gaps. However, this year more and more businesses will look to address persistent skills and labour shortages through operational change. They will consider doing things differently, such as organising work and technology in new and innovative ways. 

"Businesses are also expecting inflationary pressures of the past two years to continue, particularly for energy. Supply chain disruptions are expected to persist due to global challenges, despite easing of pandemic-era constraints.

“There are also emerging concerns around global economic headwinds, inflation and rising interest rates will see Australian economic growth slow in 2023. 

“Investment plans for 2023 are carefully calibrated to these expectations. Business will attempt to seize growth opportunities by investing in staff capability, technology and supply chain resilience.

"As we suggest in our report, these strategies and investment priorities are critical for Australia businesses to achieve the economic resilience needed for prosperity in a time of global economic uncertainty."

Key Findings:

90% of businesses expect to be affected by staffing shortages in 2023. To manage labour supply risks, they plan to raise wages and benefits, increase staff numbers, and invest in in-house training. With unemployment forecast to remain very low throughout the year, workforce management strategies have squarely shifted from recruitment to retention and reskilling.

Supply chain disruptions are expected to continue. They currently impact of 78% of businesses, and 88% plan to invest to reduce their vulnerabilities in 2023. Nearly a quarter intend to change their product offerings in light of persistent supply chain disruptions.

Three core challenges – inflationary pressures, labour shortages and supply chain disruptions – are expected to be the main inhibitors to business growth.

More efficiently managing workforces is a key theme for investment. Staff training, business process improvement and ICT are identified as 2023’s top investment priorities. These workforce-oriented investments rank well ahead of traditional priorities such as capital expenditure and R&D.

Growth will be achieved through a focus on improving product and service offerings, as business models are adjusted to new market realities of the post-COVID era. There is a clear preference for developing Australian over international markets, given lingering uncertainties about the global environment. 

Ai Group’s 2023 CEO Expectations Survey was conducted in October and November 2022. Responses were received from leaders of 280 private-sector businesses across Australia. Collectively, these businesses employed 102,364 people and had an aggregate annual turnover of around $50 billion in 2022. All Australian states, and all major non-farm private-sector industries, are represented in the survey. 

A full copy of the Ai Group survey is available here.


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