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Australia – High labour costs hurting businesses

27 November 2013

A survey of Australian businesses by Randstad showed the 25% of the nation’s business leaders are worried about productivity levels; compared with 17% in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and 19% in India, reports afr.com.

Productivity gains in Australia are a problem, according to Michael Roddy, Strategic Account Director for Randstad, especially given the competition with other nations, particularly Asian countries, who have lower labour costs.

“We’re behind the eight ball. Productivity leads to the outcome of business profitability. What the concerns are in Australia, how we are as a country compared with our Asian neighbours, we’re behind. Businesses need to work out how to do more with less,” he stated.

The survey found that 46% of the business leaders interviewed believed the top productivity challenge facing their company was developing leadership skills among employees to drive business growth. A further 26% said legislation impacting on workforce flexibility and costs was their biggest challenge to productivity.

“The cost of labour, as a result of enterprise bargaining agreements and award rates in Australia, is making it harder for companies to compete; particularly in the manufacturing sector,” added Mr Roddy.

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