Traditional recruitment sources won’t fulfil long-standing labour shortages in the retail sector, says the Australian Retail Association (ARA) which is asking the government to allow employment income to be exempted from the Age Pension income test.
The retail body says the absence of international students and visa holders – formerly key demographics of the retail workforce – has left retailers short of options when employing store staff.
With the industry now embracing a diverse workforce, ARA CEO Paul Zahra says mature age workers and pensioners can alleviate labour gaps.
“There are over 29,000 job vacancies in the retail industry. We would like to see this as a priority for the federal government immediately following the election,” he said.
Skills shortages along with supply chain challenges are enormous constraints on this segment, he added.
“Making changes that exempt employment income from the Age Pension income test would provide pensioners with the opportunity to supplement their income if they wish and retailers with access to a willing and capable workforce to assist amid ever-present labour shortages.”
Zahra said mature workers are critical to the fabric of our communities, and their generous sense of social duty should be freely welcomed.