Updates to this research will be published fortnightly to track the impact and response to COVID-19. View Previous Wave.
The latest wave of the COVID-19 SME Research Tracker shows that the proportion of SMEs reporting a decline in revenue has risen to 63%, compared to 59% in the previous wave. Despite this slightly negative sentiment short term prospects remain steady with one-third of all SMEs expecting better revenue in 4 weeks’ time. Expectations continue to be lower in QLD as borders remain closed.
Table 1: Future Revenue Expectations
Despite slightly weaker jobs data overall, the proportion of SMEs recruiting new employees continues to increase with 20% trying to fill vacant roles, compared to 15% a month earlier. Recruitment activity in the construction and production sectors has increased strongly over the past month.
Table 2: Job Roles
However, it is very concerning that 73% of SMEs looking for new employees are finding it difficult to fill roles, with the lack of suitable candidates being the key challenge.
Table 3: Difficulty Filling Job Roles
Overall it is clear that SMEs continue to gain confidence from the Australian economic recovery and hence expectations regarding business investment are stronger in the short-medium term.
Table 4: Impact of COVID-19
In summary, confidence regarding the economic recovery in Australia continues to increase despite some slightly weaker revenue data. It is very positive to see the upward trend in recruitment, but the lack of candidates needs to be addressed to ensure the recovery is not hindered by a lack of productive people in the workforce, especially as we run into the busy Christmas period.
Please click on this link to access the full report including subgroup analysis by industry sector, size of business and State. ACA Research and TEG Insights will publish updates of this research to track the impact and response to COVID-19. Hopefully the results will become more positive as we work through this crisis together.