Get your Australian Skilled and Working Visa

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THE skills shortage is hitting business hard, with turnover on the rise, more companies recruiting staff from overseas and workers picking up the biggest salary increases in Western Australia and Queensland, both riding high on the mining boom.

The Australian Institute of Management's National Salary Survey 2007 has revealed that big companies now find it increasingly difficult to hold on to staff.

According to the survey, staff turnover is heading north and it is expected to keep moving in that direction. Turnover was 12.6 per cent for 2006-07, up from 11.5 per cent the previous year and 9.9 per cent in 2003-04.

The main reason for resignations, cited by 60.9 per cent of large-company employees, was to advance their career and promotion opportunities.

The survey raises questions over whether companies are doing enough to hold staff. Only 52.3 per cent of big corporations have a dedicated training budget and only 54.5 per cent of salaried staff in large companies have development plans in place, the survey says.

While 34 per cent of large companies employ staff from overseas, as many as 63.8 per cent indicated they were willing to employ overseas candidates to cover the skills shortfall.

Most of the migrant labour came from Asia (48 per cent) and Britain (44 per cent), with most of the new arrivals primarily filling construction and engineering roles.

The survey also found that the resource boom states of Western Australia and Queensland recorded the highest pay rises, at 6.8 per cent and 5.1 per cent respectively.

Both states are powering ahead on the momentum of a mining and construction boom.

But the sectors are also in the grip of a skills shortage that is driving up wages as executives search to find enough workers for their projects.

The highest salary increases, at 6.1 per cent, were in the mining and quarrying sector. This was followed by banking and finance (5.7 per cent) and construction and engineering (5.6 per cent).

The lowest salary increases were in electronics/IT (3.2 per cent), retail (3.6 per cent) and manufacturing/food/beverage/tobacco (4 per cent).

Large-company employees in Victoria and Tasmania received an annual salary rise of 4.6 per cent. This was in line with the national average for large companies.

It was also significantly higher than the 4.1 per cent recorded in NSW and the ACT, which had the lowest salary increases in the country.

According to the survey, only 47 per cent of companies intended to revise their human resources and pay policies as a result of the Howard Government's WorkChoices law.

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