How Do We Improve Australia’s Skills Shortage?

You have probably seen this topic floating around since late last year, and as this is affecting Australia on a National Level, I thought it would be important to see what fellow Australians thought on the matter.

The Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics defined the following in one of their recent publications: “A skill shortage exists when the demand for workers for a particular occupation is greater than the supply of workers who are qualified, available and willing to work under existing market conditions.”

Recent studies show that while the unemployment level is low, the level of skilled employees also continues to drop, especially in the trade industry. This includes, but is not limited to the following:

  •  Engineering professions
  • Health diagnostic and therapy professions
  • Nurses
  • Automotive trades
  • Engineering trades
  • Food trades
  • Child care

Have these professions become unattractive?

A recent article in pointed out that these firms would be hit the hardest by looming skills shortages for the next decade!

While putting on my ‘detective’ hat and investigating the matter further, I have noticed a big gap between our ‘baby boomers’ that are now on the verge of completing their final years of employment compared to the those who have finished their education and are wanting to get into the workforce but not yet possessing the necessary skills/knowledge to pursue that particular field. This is where I had respondents agree that career guidance also plays a vital role for the newer generation within the workforce.

I tend to find this links well with our recent News Article: Are You Learning as Fast as the World Is Changing? This article outlines that new training methods and skills are required regularly to keep up with the world today and as an employer, one must be open-minded to new recruits and be willing to offer the training and skills required to be one step ahead of not only competitors, but to also be recognised more within their particular industry.

Another term that you may be familiar with on top of skill shortages is a skill gap. The Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics identify that skill gaps ‘occur when existing staff do not have the skills for the required positions.’ So, what about those already employed that would like further skills testing? Would the government consider increased funding for these subsidised studies?

One of our poll respondents stated, ‘There are two things holding me back from further studies. Time and money. I genuinely believe that everyone, no matter the age, needs to keep learning in order to keep growing, and if the government can ease one of those problems, I would jump at the opportunity!’

While the option to Import International Talent was not favoured as highly by our poll respondents, the overall feedback was that more than one strategy is required for any improvement in this field to take place.

I believe that this weeks’ poll can be summarised by one of our respondents’ as this: ‘In short, we need a clear understanding of where & why the shortages exist as well as a collaboration from both government and private sectors to address it.”

Let’s just hope that it won’t take a whole decade to see improvement!

Haven’t had a say? What are your thoughts?