27% of SME business owners expect wage increases in 2022

ACA Research has reported that despite very tough market conditions in the first quarter of 2022, SME’s are optimistic about growth in 2022. According to COVID-19 SME Tracker most SME owners are anticipating an increase in wages will be required to support employee acquisition and business growth.

Revenue, profit and employment looked positive in December 2021 before taking a steep dive with the arrival of the Omicron variant. As SME’s navigate “living with COVID” without government support, satisfaction with the Federal government has dipped: 36% of SMEs are dissatisfied with the Federal government compared to 30% in November 2020.

Despite the challenges, 50% of SMEs are aggressively targeting growth in 2022 and “investment intentions” have increased across all categories. This includes employee numbers, marketing spend and capital investment. With 85% of SME’s reporting that recruitment remains a pain-point with. a lack of applicants being the largest problem, and a lack of skilled and qualified candidates being the second-largest 27% of SMEs expect wages will increase over the next three months compared to 10% in August 2020.

ACA Research Managing Director James Organ said: “In summary, many SMEs finished 2021 on a more positive note with most key indicators trending up. However, business confidence is extremely tenuous with a high level of uncertainty regarding 2022 due to the accelerating spread of COVID and the associated impact on demand, staff and supply chain.”

While Australia remains in the grip of the Omicron outbreak, some states like NSW believe they have reached their peak and are expecting a decline in numbers.

Meanwhile, owners of beauty businesses and industry bodies like ABIC, along with organizations representing the interests of small businesses are demanding more support from the government as they navigate the first quarter.

Read our beauty investigation with Stefanie Milla of ABIC, James Vivian of James Vivian, Natalie Ferrari of The Parlour Room and Victoria Houllis of Mannequin Hands to see how beauty business owners are coping with the impacts of Omicron.

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