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Australia’s labour shortage and the ‘wealth effect’

Wealth Effect

Pre-COVID, Australia was ripe with the rhetoric of foreigners stealing the jobs of hard-working Australians looking for a fair go. But if the pandemic has highlighted anything, it’s the truth behind Australia’s ‘wealth effect’. With foreigners unable to ‘steal our jobs’ during the pandemic, it turns out we don’t actually want the work.

Employers are desperate for staff and it’s not just fruit pickers. From hotels and restaurants to labourers and cleaners, there is a rising unskilled labour shortage in Australia. We can’t find young Australians willing to take the work. Australia’s ‘wealth effect’ is to blame.

Many young Australians don’t need to take basic jobs for low pay because living expenses are covered by well-off parents. It turns out we need those pesky foreigners, after all, to serve our coffee, clean our toilets, and even drive our trucks. In addition to young travellers on holiday visa’s, there are many highly qualified immigrants holding remedial jobs often 2 or 3 at a time and way below their experience and pay grades. Why, because they need the work.

So, the next time you see a young French backpacker, a Vietnamese student, an Indian cleaning the floor at your local shopping centre, make sure to thank them for keeping this country together because we have the luxury to not get our hands dirty for minimal pay.