Diversity plan for Qld worker shortages

·2-min read

The Queensland government will spend $20 million to encourage businesses to employ more women and people with disabilities as part of its plan to fill vacant jobs.

Another $14 million will be invested to help migrants, refugees and international students find employment, as part of the state government's 10-year workforce strategy released on Tuesday.

The number of jobs in Queensland will grow by about 280,000 between 2020 and 2025 according to government figures, but the number of people reaching retirement age will rise by almost a third.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wants to plug the gaps with groups who are under-represented in the state's workforce, and people living in the regions.

She will share her strategy at Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's national jobs and skills summit in Canberra later this week.

"Our economy now has more jobs than workers to fill them," Ms Palaszczuk told parliament on Tuesday.

"We estimate, that over the next three years, Queensland will need an additional 280,000 workers to keep up with the growth in our economy.

"That is the equivalent of the populations of Cairns and Mackay combined."

Under the plan, workforce advisors will be appointed to encourage employers to diversify their workforces by fostering flexible work arrangements, particularly women and people with disabilities.

A $5.6 million service will be established to help migrants, refugees and international students find work, with $5.45 million allocated to expand it to Townsville, Rockhampton and the Sunshine Coast.

Another $3 million will spent to establish a Skilled Workforce Attraction Office to help migrants and refugees settle in Queensland.

That agency will also work out way to attract more interstate and international workers to the state, while a Multicultural Affairs Settlement Team will advocate for migrants and refugee workers.

The government also plans to help connect First Nations people with training programs for sustainable jobs and ensure the public sector is a model employer for under-represented minority groups.

The plan comes as 80 per cent of small and medium businesses reported facing rising labour costs in the June quarter.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland survey shows two in three of the businesses reported difficulty finding and keeping full and part-time staff and more than 30 per cent struggled to attract and retaining casuals.

CCIQ chief executive Heidi Cooper says its important for the national jobs summit to find solutions to increasing labour costs, skills shortages, and support for retraining for businesses.

"We know there is a need for skills reform and training incentives to help alleviate the impact of skills and labour shortages on Queensland businesses' ability to not only operate day-to-day but to grow long-term," she said in a statement.

"We expect there to be a focus on skills and training."