Mandurah business owners say they are struggling to find staff.
Some say they are "job carving," which means restructuring their organisation and specific roles to accommodate more staff and survive with less personnel.
Others say they are simply not able to hire for open positions and are instead forced to pick up the slack themselves.
Silver Sands Resort general manager Delene Plunkett said her employee turnover rate was similar to how it had always been, however hiring for open roles was now the pressing issue.
"There have not actually been any replacements coming through, where we'd normally have 20 or 30 applications," Ms Plunkett said.
The issue is becoming more dire, with Ms Plunkett saying she has had to offer staff incentives and think outside of the box to find ways to hire more people.
"We've just started with flyers up on community boards, different ways of advertising, offering extra cash and work during school hours. Even just from the point of view of offering current staff incentives to bring along people," Ms Plunkett said.
From December 2021 to January 2022, the unemployment rate in Mandurah increased 0.3 points according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. At the same time, the participation rate rose 0.6 points.
With more people joining the workforce, the Mail investigated why businesses were still struggling to hire employees.
Merideon Wealth Strategies managing director Mark Rattigan said staff in his industry were leaving due to constantly changing restrictions and uncertainty in the current economy.
"Employees and financial advisers have been leaving the industry in droves over the last few years due to constantly changing regulations causing increased uncertainty and pressure. This has affected us as we have lost a couple of employees and there are fewer experienced professionals to hire.
"COVID-19 restrictions have meant we can't go further afield and consider immigration as an option as we have in the past," Mr Rattigan said.
Unable to hire overseas employees, Mr Rattigan said he had to restructure the entire business.
'Job carving' has become a popular term as of late, as other businesses saying they have had to similarly change job roles and restructure operations to accommodate staff shortages, unvaccinated employees and those wanting to work from home.
"We have had to look at restructuring our business to ensure qualified advisers are spending less of their time on duties someone else can be trained to do so they can spend more time in front of clients (the thing only they can do)," Mr Rattigan said.
"It has taken a good six months to reinvent our process and train up the new team members to take on the extra tasks, this is now starting to show the benefits and we will be able to move to stage two and train the local client services team to take on higher value tasks. (...)
"This has been a disruption and has affected the budget while we transition, but we see it being a much safer and effective model going forward."
As businesses in Mandurah navigate staff shortages and job carving, the mental health impact on owners and employees still has an impact in the background.
"The problem is, it will have an impact on people being worn out, burnt out. We are trying to eliminate that. We've made some changes to what we're doing, we would normally do refurbishments that would involve heavy work for maintenance and more cleaning.
"All of that's been put on hold on now, tied up with issues of not being able to get supplies," Ms Plunkett said of the changes she had had to make to her business model to balance staff wellbeing and remaining in operation.
Mr Rattigan mirrored this sentiment, saying that the mental energy spent on navigating new rules and managing increasing work loads has had a major impact.
"The constant uncertainty and fear mongering is also draining on team and clients morale which is something we also need to plan for and manage," he said.
A Peel Chamber of Commerce spokesperson said the organisation had a multitude of resources available for members to help navigate uncertain times, as well as regular events where there was the opportunity to ask questions.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.