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Study Shows Australia Needs More Skilled Workers

Posted: 23/07/2012 5:00:00 AM by Kyla Jones, Site Director, Mining Oil and Gas Jobs
Filed under: Training-and-Development, Job-seekers

The Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA) released a paper last week showing the need for more skilled workers and more training initiatives to ensure the future of the Australian workforce.

The results of the study were released in a discussion paper called Future focus: Australia’s skills and workforce development needs.

The paper examines the long-term future of both supply and demand for skills between now and 2025. With so much news about the current resources boom, the aim of the study is to effectively plan for a range of scenarios that will possibly impact the workforce.

Future demand for skilled workers steadily increases

The findings in the report show an increased need for higher level skills that will continue. While less than 60% of the current workforce has skills acquired in some form of post-school education or training, that figure needs to increase fairly rapidly to meet the growing demand. In the not too distant future, the country and the economy will need between 65% and 75% of the workforce to have a skill, qualification or education they received after leaving school.  

Mr. Philip Bullock, Chair of AWPA, mentioned the current pressure the resources industry is experiencing in terms of skills shortages.

Our growth as a nation will be constrained unless we have the right settings over the medium term to produce sufficient supply of qualifications to meet continuing strong industry demand. The mining boom has focussed attention on one area of skills shortage, but over the longer term, shortages are possible in many jobs and industries unless we start now to plan for the future.”

Staying globally competitive

There are a variety of reasons why Australia needs to focus more on skills including:
  • Changing industry structure of the economy
  • Higher expectations of consumers
  • Challenge to improve productivity
  • Different skills required to participate in the “Asian Century”
Each of these instances demonstrates a desire on the part of the government and the Australian public to enjoy the benefits a global workforce brings to the country.

While Australia’s unemployment rate is incredibly low compared to other western economies, the paper also identified a problem with pockets of low skills across some demographics and regions. Where skills are lower, there’s also lower workforce participation.

What this means for jobseekers

The paper is one of the first projects for AWPA, an extension of Skills Australia. The research is a means of generating discussion to help plan the future Australian workforce. Importantly, it’s another example of collaboration between industry, government and training bodies to help improve skills in Australia and alleviate the need for skilled migration. Jobseekers can expect to see more training initiatives by both industry and government.

Visit the Training and Development section of the Careers and Industry Guide for more information on how you can improve your skills.

Don’t forget:

  • Make sure to subscribe to our blog. We’re publishing new information every day about employment in the Australian resource industry.
  • If you’re looking for a job in mining, energy or oil and gas, make sure you visit our industry jobs board  where we only advertise real jobs by real employers.

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