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Firms in the dark on salaries, faltering on staff incentives

New research has found Australian SMEs are increasingly finding staffing issues to be a primary business concern, and admit there are gaps in training, incentive and remuneration strategies.

Professional Development Katarina Taurian 14 November 2017
— 1 minute read

A Bstar survey of about 200 SMEs across Australia found attracting, retaining and motivating staff remains an ongoing concern for business owners, ranked at seven this year. You can read more about other concerns, like stress, lifestyle and asset protection here.


The research suggests SMEs lack expertise in human resources management, resulting in little structured focus on retention strategies. About 26 per cent of SMEs don't have any strategies for staff attraction, retention or motivation, which has fallen 4 per cent since last year.

Twenty per cent of SMEs reported not knowing how their wages compared to average industry wages, and less than half rated themselves as “ok” on the remuneration scale.

While allowing staff a buy-in option for the business is a proven incentive for staff, only 5 per cent of SMEs had developed investment and funding plans for their key staff, down from 9 per cent last year.

About 30 per cent of SMEs believe their staff are not interested in growing the business, and about 55 per cent are. The former is a concern for business owners, but most admitted to not having strategies or plans to improve staff productivity.

Of the SMEs that had staff incentive plans in place, about 27 per cent reported generation of positive behaviours and business outcomes.

“My biggest current concern is staff – how to improve the productivity of my professional staff. This is going to have the biggest impact on gross profit,” said one of the respondents to the survey.

Firms in the dark on salaries, faltering on staff incentives
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