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Know about the skill shortages in the Australian Labour market

by Emily Gorsky

**This is an updated post**

Over the last few years, Australia has faced a growing skill-shortage in several industries including healthcare, building and construction as well as education. Employers are still struggling to find suitably qualified workers and demand is only increasing.

What is a Skill Shortage?

A skill shortage occurs when skilled jobs are difficult to fill at reasonable wages and working conditions. Often, employers will try to fill these jobs by offering a higher salary and more benefits to the right candidate. Skill shortages are caused by several factors such as people moving away from regional areas, inadequate or inaccessible training, changes in technology and population growth. Understanding the current skill shortages can not only help skilled workers achieve a higher salary but also enjoy greater job security knowing that their skills are in high demand.

Which jobs experience the greatest skill shortage?

The latest skill shortage research reports from the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business highlights the following jobs where demand appears to be the highest.

1. Construction Project Managers

Building and construction work is becoming increasingly valuable in Australia as new development and expansion is expected over the next decade.

The latest report for this occupation states that only 53% of vacancies for construction project managers are filled. The average numbers of suitable applicants have declined steadily in the last six years. A startling 90% of qualified applicants were considered unsuitable, mainly due to lacking specific experience sought after by the employer.

Urban expansion across many of the major cities has also led to greater demand for experienced workers in architecture, design engineering, contract administration and site management. Many employers state that offering higher remuneration is often the only way to attract sufficiently experienced workers to fill these roles.

Experience with local building codes and regulations, as well as strong communication and stakeholder management skills, are considered essential criteria for most positions.

2. Childcare workers

There is a shortage of childcare workers with a Diploma and Certificate III in metropolitan and regional NSW. Across NSW, 56% of vacancies were filled within the survey period compared with 87% in September 2017 for childcare workers with a Certificate III and 75% for workers with a Diploma. There was an average of 19.3 applicants per vacancy where only 2.1 applicants were considered suitable by employers.

Employers are looking for applicants with qualifications as required by the role—namely a Diploma or Certificate III recognised by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA). Although prior experience is desirable, some employers indicated that an applicant’s personality with the right attitude to get the job done was most valuable.

3. Enrolled Nurses

The demand for Enrolled Nurses in Australia continues to increase due to the ageing population, advances in medical technology and increasing incidence of chronic disease.

In NSW, shortages are evident across metropolitan areas. Employers are struggling to find suitable applicants with 58% of vacancies remaining unfilled. Employers are seeking applicants with tertiary qualifications in nursing and full registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) as an enrolled nurse. Qualified and registered applicants were commonly considered unsuitable because they lacked specific or general experience, lacked technical skills or submitted a poor job application.

Meanwhile, in Victoria employers are struggling to fill aged care roles in regional areas and in Queensland, only 63% of vacancies for enrolled nurses are filled.

How can Vocational Education help close the gap?

With many high school students opting for university, VET qualified workers are on the decline. But according to a 2017 report by Skilling Australia Foundation, 78% of Vocational Education graduates were able to find a job compared to 69% of bachelor degree graduates.

Open Colleges offers VET courses to prepare graduates for some of Australia’s most in-demand roles. Visit our courses page now to learn more.

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