South-west employers have been searching for workers for more than 12 months, but there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
The region has one of the lowest unemployment rates of just 1.2 per cent, new data reveals.
AutoMech Mechanical and Auto Electrical owner Ben McSparron said he was finding it difficult to recruit a service advisor.
Mr McSparron said the role had been advertised with a number of job recruitment sites for several weeks and a video on the business' Facebook page has been viewed 4000 times.
"The last time we advertised for a service advisor we got 20-plus resumes - we're lucky to get five at the moment," he said.
Mr McSparron said there were skills shortages in a wide range of trades.
"There's a massive skills shortage across the board," he said.
Senior mechanic Adam Church said the business offered a good work/life balance.
"We've been doing nine-day fortnights, which is good - it helps out with the family," he said.
"It's a good work environment, we all sort of work together and we're always having a laugh."
Mr McSparron said the company had to look abroad when searching for an auto electrician recently.
He said they found a suitable candidate from the Philippines.
He has been with the company for a few months and is excelling in the role.
Mr McSparron said it was disappointing it was difficult to find staff because he was busier than ever.
"We're five weeks out at the moment," he said.
Mr McSparron said he believed a lack of available housing in the south-west may be holding back some people for applying for jobs in the region.
Village Bakehouse owner John Stapleton has been struggling to find staff to fill roles for more than 12 months.
He said the challenges felt by employers across the state were exacerbated in Port Fairy due to a lack of affordable rentals.
Everybody is short staffed but in Port Fairy we've got another problem.- John Stapleton
"Everybody is short staffed but in Port Fairy we've got another problem," Mr Stapleton said.
"The town doesn't have any real estate for people to live in."
Mr Stapleton said the high cost of petrol meant people were less likely to want to drive from Warrnambool or other towns to Port Fairy.
"The majority of the properties in Port Fairy are short-term rentals and there are a lot of empty houses," he said.
Mr Stapleton said he was seeking a manager and a baker's assistant, as well as a number of front of house staff members.
"I could probably put six on," he said.
Mr Stapleton said he had enough staff to get by at the moment, but he is concerned about the busy summer period.
"I know as soon as summer comes, if we don't find some extra staff, we're going to find it really difficult," he said.
"It will be really hard to cater for the influx of people."
Mr Stapleton said he believed most businesses in the town were experiencing similar issues.
"Nobody can operate at their full capacity because they don't have the staff," he said.
Star of the West bistro manager Kelly Fitzpatrick said the venue was in desperate need of more staff.
"We have jobs in every area of the pub," she said.
Miss Fitzpatrick said the hotel was seeking bartenders, waitresses, chefs and kitchen hands.
"We literally cannot find anyone," she said.
"Port Fairy is a very expensive place to live.
"It makes it very hard for young or single families to afford to rent here."
Everybody's Home recently released a report which found Victoria's affordable housing shortage was blowing an economic hole in local economies worth hundreds of millions of dollars, with employers struggling to attract staff due to low vacancy rates and skyrocketing rents.
Spokeswoman Kate Colvin said the report looked at the link between low vacancy rates and unfilled jobs.
"The chronic lack of affordable housing in regional Australia/community is more than a social crisis. It's now a deep economic crisis as well," Ms Colvin said.
"The inability to find a rental and eye watering rent increases for the few places available is deterring people from taking up jobs in regional communities.
"Employers tell us constantly that prospective employees tell them they can't move to the community if they can't find a place to live."
Earlier this week, the Greens party revealed it was pushing for a two-year, emergency rental cap in a bid to ease cost-of-living pressures on households.
Further rental caps would also be on the table and limited to 2 per cent for every two years.
Greens' housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather says rents are rising seven times faster than wages and a freeze is needed to ease the burden on the hip pocket.
"If the government is serious about cost-of-living relief, if they're serious about affordable housing, then it's a no-brainer to freeze rent rises," he said.
"Rents are out of control, millions of Australian renters are struggling to pay the rent, and unless the government wants to see more families sleeping in their cars, they need to do their job and act now to stop this crisis boiling over into a national tragedy."
SQM research shows rents in capital cities have risen annually by 17.9 per cent and nationwide at 13.4 per cent.
Another report recently released by Victoria's Skills Authority reveals the state is facing a shortage of nearly 400,000 workers within three years.
"Victoria's labour market is currently experiencing a high-level mismatch, with employers citing a lack of skills as a reason for recruitment difficulties," the report said.
"Regional areas are feeling these workforce challenges most acutely."
The Victorian Skills Authority forecasts there will be 5405 new workers required across the Great South Coast by 2025.
Aged and disabled carers will be in high demand, followed by registered nurses, solicitors and commercial cleaners.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed recently the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.4 per cent in July 2022.
Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said the unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage points, to 3.4 per cent.
"In July, there were fewer unemployed people (474,000) than there were job vacancies (480,000 in May)," Mr Jarvis said.
In Warrnambool and the south-west the unemployment rate was just 1.2 per cent.
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