Looking for work?
If you're reliable, hard working and willing to "give it a go" there's hundreds of jobs available across the region.
There are shortfalls in hospitality, disability or aged care, and retail across the New England with the unemployment rate sitting at six per cent, higher than the rising national average of 3.9 per cent.
Job-seekers are being encouraged to skill-up and apply.
Best Employment spokesperson Kate Ottewell said there were many businesses willing to train people.
"They can't teach you to turn up and want to work, but they can teach you the job," Ms Ottewell said.
Retention is key
McDonalds is just one of the many retailers willing to invest in staff.
Licensee of the Goondiwindi, Moree and Narrabri stores, Mick Young and his wife Ashley, have over 60 jobs available across their restaurants.
Mr Young said it was absolutely critical, now more than ever, to invest in staff as a retention tool.
"If you can offer something extra, it's a no-brainer," he said.
"People want choice and people want to learn, so if an employer is being one-dimensional, people have the ability to leave and find employment elsewhere."
Incentives on offer
In a job seekers' market, employers are finding they have to offer incentives to compete.
One business owner said they had heard a company was offering a $5000 start-up bonus.
In sectors such as aged care, where organisations are limited by government funding, it's a necessity.
Kaloma Home for the Aged DON/facility manager, Tennielle Aguilar, said people could get paid more working on a check-out.
"It's not a very well paid job for what you have to do; it's physically and mentally demanding, so people are going to higher paid jobs," Ms Aguilar said.
Kaloma offers a relocation bonus, sublet accommodation and a bonus after passing six months' probation.
They also have a scholarship program for those doing Enrolled Nursing or Diploma of Nursing, and a transition to practice program which has helped attract staff.
"We have to offer that to get them here, to get them to stay and to progress their career," Ms Aguilar said.
Another burden for businesses
The process of trying to recruit staff is costing businesses considerable time and money.
Ms Aguilar said Kaloma would spend at least $1500 a month on job advertisements.
Meanwhile, the HR manager for Kenway and Clark - which has seven stores including at Inverell, Moree and Goondiwindi - said the quality of applicants was often disappointing.
"Sometimes what comes across my desk doesn't even seem genuine and I find myself wasting a lot of time responding to these applications," Naomi Burger said.
She said there wasn't anything she hadn't tried to attract staff from radio to newspaper, recruitment agencies and job sites.
"Coming out of COVID, as production of things overseas et cetera start to gain momentum again, we've got more work to do but there just seems to be less people wanting to do it," Ms Burger said.
Help is available
It was announced at the Jobs and Skills summit in Canberra on September 1 and 2 that the annual skills migration was set to increase by 30,000 places to 195,000 per year to help fill some gaps.
For locals though, Ms Ottewell encouraged job seekers to be proactive.
"Pop in and see your local employers and have a chat and ask, 'what can be done for my specific situation?'," Ms Ottewell said.
"Consider all your options; you don't know what job will lead to another job, who you will meet along the way, and who you will talk to," she said.
"Having a job, showing that you are reliable, you turn up, you are presentable, is the best step to getting the job that you want."
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