The number of retailer sponsored 457 Visa’s is on the rise with Australian retailers searching overseas for skilled staff because years of cost-cutting, under-investment in training and the online retail boom has led to a critical skills shortage in the retail sector.
Experienced merchandisers, planners, buyers and e-commerce managers are in hot demand in the US and the UK as major retailers ramp up their multi-channel operations, respond to increasing competition from global retailers.
In the 12 months ending May, the number of retailer-sponsored 457 visas granted jumped 42.7 per cent to 2790, according to Department of Immigration figures, and recruiters say many senior positions remain vacant for months because of the lack of suitable local talent.
Jane McNeill, NSW director for recruitment firm Hays said:
We have far more jobs than we have candidates. We are finding that in Australia there is a significant skills shortage in this space and particularly in the types of roles of planning and buying and at the executive levels – it’s really difficult to find talent.
Australian High Street chain store Target’s new managing director Stuart Machin – who came from the UK five years ago to run store operations at the Australian Supermarket Coles – is employing a new team of executives to lead his turnaround plan.
Almost half his new team has come from the UK, including finance director Graeme Jenkins, who worked for Virgin, merchandise director Richard Jones, who worked for Dunnes Stores, Tescos and Sainsburys, and Jonathon Fitzgerald, the new merchandise planning and range director, who comes from UK fashion chain Matalan.