Staff dries up at the Big Prawn Restaurant
By WILL JACKSON
JUDY SMITH doesn't know why no one wants to work in her restaurant.
The owner of the Big Prawn Restaurant for eight years said she hadn't had any trouble filling positions until about six months ago.
She's short one cook, with another due to leave in early January. She also needs a waiter to work front of house.
"In the last month I've had 50 people call me applying for jobs," she said.
"None of them is working here now.
"Forty of them declined the position over the phone after I gave them a job description, and another five dropped out after I gave them a face-to-face interview.
"Three did one shift, but they didn't work out and only two managed to do two weeks.
"One of them became ill and couldn't work any more after she called in sick at 9am for a 9am shift.
"The other one said that she wouldn't vacuum or work any weekends, which were requirements of the position.
"They tell me the hours don't suit, the money doesn't suit, or they're just not interested in that sort of work."
Ms Smith offers award wages of $13.38 an hour for waiting staff and $14.05 for cooks, plus penalty rates. Shifts are eight hours, and includes one weekend shift. The jobs are permanent part-time (30 hours a week), so include sick and holiday pay.
She said the restaurant generally had a low turnover of staff, with many employed for several years.
"I can't understand why, when we have such high unemployment in this area, that I can't find people to work," Ms Smith said. "Maybe it's not glamorous enough?"
Debbie Fry, deputy general manager of TURSA Employment and Training, said there was often a mismatch between the jobs available and skilled labour.
"Chefs that are any good are in high demand, especially in coastal areas," she said. "It's not easy finding a shortorder cook. Waiting staff are relatively easy to find." Anyone interested in working at the restaurant can call Ms Smith on 6686 0086.