Despite the recent end of JobKeeper, confidence among Australian SMEs continues to grow, cccording to the findings of market research firm ACA Research in its latest COVID-19 SME Tracker. The research reveals that the proportion of SMEs reporting lower revenues than before the pandemic has dropped from 54 per cent to 43 per cent over the past month, with the average decline now 14 per cent compared to 17 per cent in the previous wave.
The proportion of SMEs now hiring also rose to 23 per cent, with 42 per cent of these filling newly-created job roles. On the downside, 40 per cent of these SMEs are facing challenges in filling job roles compared to 24 per cent in March due to issues associated with wage demands, working hours and transient workers.
SMEs also expect local and global economies to continue to strengthen as intentions to invest have risen across all categories. Demand for small trucks, agricultural, construction and earthmoving equipment spiked in April.
On the other hand, satisfaction with the federal government has reached its lowest point during the pandemic as the research noted that SMEs are dissatisfied with vaccination rollout and the potential impact on the economic recovery. Nevertheless, SME decision makers are supportive of the vaccination, with 73 per cent indicating that they are likely to get the jab when available and 15 per cent claiming they will make the vaccination compulsory for employees.
“In summary, market conditions continue to improve despite the end of JobKeeper, with positive revenue, profit, employment and capital expenditure data supporting the recovery,” ACA Research, Managing Director, James Organ said. “However, satisfaction with Federal Government is waning as ongoing mismanagement of the vaccination rollout threatens to impact the longer-term economic recovery.”
The COVID-19 SME Tracker is conducted in partnership with TEG Insights and has tracked the impact of COVID-19 across more than 400 small and medium enterprises each month since the pandemic started.