Skilled worker shortage

AN in-depth survey into the needs and wants of Clarence Valley businesses revealed that attracting skilled labour to the area was a major concern.

The Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) survey, held late last year, was the largest survey of its type conducted in New South Wales.

More than 1000 Clarence Valley business houses took part.

The BRE's core findings revealed survey participants held a positive outlook for future demand, that most businesses sold of their product locally, but didn't buy their raw materials locally, and that attracting skilled labour was a major concern.

Grafton City Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Mark Butler said the problem of attracting skilled labour was experienced across the employment board from executives and professionals to trades people.

He said part of the problem was a national shortage in tradies.

"It comes back to the lack of trades people in the area. Most of the trades people in the area such as plumbers, builders and electricians are extremely busy," he said.

Mr Butler said being able to offer employees a complete lifestyle package was a crucial factor in procuring skilled labour.

The BRE survey also revealed that local businesses were willing to accept assistance in management, marketing and other local training programs or seminars.

The survey's overall purpose was to obtain a picture of the make-up of businesses in the Clarence Valley and to gain first-hand information on how local businesses see the future.

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