Jobs seekers are spoilt for choice this Christmas with more positions vacant than ever across many sectors.
The biggest challenge for Illawarra employers is finding people to fill positions.
Many reasons have been cited for that including fewer backpackers and university students in the region post lockdown. And many casual workers taking the opportunity to get out and enjoy Christmas and New Year before returning to work.
The dilemma for the hospitality industry is that the community is ready to dine out and attend venues again but there aren't enough staff to provide the level of service people expect.
Read more: Jobs, jobs, jobs and how to get them
Almost all cafes, restaurants, clubs, bars, functions centres and hospitality venues in the region are looking for staff. They include Guzman Y Gomez, The Steelers Club, Grill'd Wollongong, McDonald's Warrawong and Domino's Warrawong, Figtree and Unanderra just to name a few.
Domino's has launched its biggest recruitment drive yet, with the company looking to hire an additional 7000 team members nationally and 30 in Wollongong prior to Christmas.
Domino's Warrawong franchisee Adam Bordujenko said as a small business owner it was good to be in a position to be able to offer locals work.
"Currently, we are looking for over 10 team members to join our team to help us safely deliver piping hot pizzas to locals within the Warrawong community. I encourage anyone out of work, looking for a change, or even for their first job to apply," he said.
Domino's Figtree and Unanderra stores are each looking for up to 10 new team members.
But it is not just the hospitality sector struggling to fill positions vacant.
RDA Illawarra general manager Debra Murphy said the monthly skills forums reveal job shortages in retail, hair and beauty, accommodation, clubs and pubs, trades, nursing/health and aged care. And in some industries the shortage is significant.
"The accommodation and food sector used to employ 12,300 people pre-COVID-19 in the region but now there is 2,900 less. Many of those will be job vacancies," she said.
Ms Murphy said there were more opportunities than ever this year for school leavers looking to get experience over summer.
Melissa Gorgievski, of Charli & Kate, said she has been having great difficulty finding staff for her salons in Wollongong and Shellharbour.
"We have retail positions going, we are looking for hair stylists and we have online positions available for people to pack, send and manage the online process," she said.
"I don't know where everyone is. Normally at this time of year there is an influx of applications. Obviously COVID has had an impact. We will employ anyone including school leavers. People can either call or apply online or in store."
Mrs Gorgievski said there hair stylist shortage was a real problem when so many people were getting out and wanting a professional hair style again.
"All my friends in the industry are having the same battle. The demand is so great we need as many hairdressers as we can get. We are still working through a backlog of appointments because of the COVID-19 lockdown."
Some retail businesses who have been able to find staff count themselves as very fortunate.
Casey's Toys acting manager Julieanne Mears said the toy store in Wollongong Central recently managed to employ three casual team members to help it manage the Christmas rush that came earlier this year.
Ms Mears that said was being driven by parents wanting to get in early to secure that present of choice for their children before stock of the most popular items sold out.
She said the store had planned ahead for shipping delays with a large enough supply of toys in its warehouse to fill the store again.
But Casey's did sell out of the newly released Wollongong Monopoly last week and is waiting on a second shipment which is expected to arrive within days.
Businesses hiring include;
- Charli & Kate
- The Steelers Club
- Guzman Y Gomez
- Grill'd Wollongong
- McDonald's Warrawong
Where the jobs are by industry
- Hair and beauty
- Clubs and pubs
- Aged care
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