In May 2022, NORTH Link surveyed its partners to measure the economic impact and the progress of their economic recovery following COVID-19.The results showed that 78% of businesses experienced a downturn and 67% faced staff shortages. To combat these shortages, 25% operated at reduced capacity, 15% offered staff increased hours and 14% offered flexible working arrangements.   When asked how they view the future, 37% of businesses feel confident, 23% are neutral and 40% feel worried.  

Further results from the survey:  

  • Businesses reported that the reasons for their downturn were government restrictions (27%), lack of consumer confidence (15%), and a decrease in visitors (15%).
  • Reasons for staff shortages were a lack of applicants (22%), COVID-19 infections among staff (15%), isolation requirements (14%) and mandatory vaccinations (13%).
  • The majority of businesses believe that the biggest issues they will face over the next 12 months are labour availability (19%), supply chain disruption (15%) and costs and rates management (13%).

Advocacy is a key activity for NORTH Link, and Executive Director Chris James noted the significant role that NORTH Link played during the pandemic in advocating for assistance for industry, education and health and, in some cases, finding new markets or finding supplies.  “NORTH Link is respected by industry, education, health and government as a trusted advisor for our region. The results of this survey assisted us to provide advice to all levels of government and to understand the concerns of businesses, which in turn will inform our future activities.  “We are looking forward to again delivering industry-focused workshops and events face-to-face, providing businesses with ways to build capability and networks,” he added.  To see the full survey results, click here.