A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

The retail award is not enough to attract good candidates to retail jobs

$26.00 an hour is proving to be insufficient to attract good candidates to basic retail assistant roles in Melbourne and Sydney.

This is my recent experience and the experience of several retailers I have spoken with in both marketplaces.

I know of one retailer who advertised at $30.00 an hour just to attract good candidates. Another offered a $10.00 a day meal allowance, while another offered a travel reimbursement of $100.00 a week even for local applicants. I know of another retailer looking for a junior full time, a role they have easily filled in the past, who has not given upon on that plan.

In my own case we are hiring for three shops and while we are attracting candidates, most are looking for their start in retail and still expect to be paid at Level 4 or Level 5. One good candidate took a role in logistics as they will make 50% more there since pay rates have grown along with the spike in what is being shipped.

In plenty of areas of need pay rates are growing fast. Other benefits are being offered, too, to attract employees. Awards are needed, but they are a baseline, a minimum, and in the city they are proving to not be enough.

Considering all this and stories in the news, it seems we are in for up to a year of challenges in finding staff, which makes holding on to existing staff very important.

Newsagency management

Join the discussion

  1. Jim

    The labour market is not functioning normally. Its not just retail, its most sectors. Covid related welfare payments I believe have had a material impact on the supply side. I think it will take time for this to normalise. There seems to be no political will on either side to incentivise the transition.


  2. Mark Fletcher

    Jim, I agree it’s not functioning as it traditionally has. But I see no evidence of the Covid payments impacting it. rather, I think there has been a movement in the location of labour, openings in higher priced roles and people who experienced flexibility not wanting it longer term.

    These are opinions only. It will take a while for the evidence to out.


  3. Graeme Day

    I can see COVID transition in attitude being a hangover in behaviour which has affected spending.
    It will dissapate slowly yet it will happen with certain job locations changing. Probably not as large as some predict but some nevertheless. Christmas is only just starting with large crowds in the City areas -Lots of looking – and I beleive a frenzy buying yet to come.
    Can only hope so.


  4. Mark Fletcher

    Graeme in data I see Christmas has been well under way since early October. It’s a bumper year this year for many.


  5. Graeme Day

    I have to agree then that my data is different and very accurate I get it from Tower Sales Comparison as well as POSS as well as Category Sale Report from the other POS Solutions all not yet up to it.
    This is in Sydney and some Rural.
    Mybe your data is mainly VIC. wfich is booming due to too much Lockdown and now newly found freedom.


  6. Mark Fletcher

    The November data is a fair representation across the country geographically. It is skews in one way it’s against shopping centre locations. So, it’s high street suburban, regional, rural. It’s balanced between independent as well as groups.


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