Skills shortage “remains low by historical standards”

By Leith van Onselen

The Department of Employment (DoE) has released its Skills Shortages Statistical Summary for 2015-16, which has found that “the proportion of skilled occupations in shortage remains low by historical standards”:

ScreenHunter_14567 Aug. 23 15.28

According to the DoE, competition for available vacancies remained strong in 2015-16. For each skilled vacancy there were (on average):

  • 11.5 applicants
  • 7.4 applicants with relevant qualifications
  • 1.9 suitable applicants
ScreenHunter_14568 Aug. 23 15.31

However, employers remain very picky, with most applicants not deemed “suitable” because:

  • they did not have the minimum amount of experience employers are looking for;
  • some positions require very specific experience; or
  • applicants did not display sufficient communication skills, teamwork, reliability or English proficiency.

Whatever happened to ‘on-the-job’ training?

Skills shortages are greatest in the trades (especially the construction and automotive trades), as well as in the health care industry.

ScreenHunter_14570 Aug. 23 15.38

The housing bubble epicentres of NSW and VIC have the greatest shortages (mostly relating to strong residential construction activity), whereas WA, SA and TAS have the lowest shortages:

ScreenHunter_14569 Aug. 23 15.34

And there are large numbers of engineers, accountants and IT professionals vying for vacancies but there are few applicants for construction trade vacancies:

ScreenHunter_14571 Aug. 23 15.39

There are larger numbers of students undertaking higher education:

ScreenHunter_14572 Aug. 23 15.44

However, bachelor degree graduate employment outcomes are falling and at “historically low levels”:

ScreenHunter_14575 Aug. 23 16.01

Similarly, outcomes for VET graduates are also worsening, but relatively stronger:

ScreenHunter_14574 Aug. 23 15.46

What the DoE’s findings clearly show is that the case for importing more labour remains thin, particularly given that employment is likely to worsen as mining investment unwinds, the local car industry closes, and the current housing construction boom subsides.

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Unconventional Economist
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  1. The entire ‘Skills shortage’ concept is built on a false premise that I suspect was intended to further damage organised labor. If we look to history, we find that after having vast numbers of long term unemployed and moving from high level of agrarian work force, Australia was in the WW2 period build aircraft, communications equipment, munitions and small arms factories ordinance and ships diesel propulsion systems. All in the space of a few years.

    The skill that is missing can only be (recovered) taught by weaning a whole generation off cradle to grave welfare and rekindling a ‘hunger for work that better reflects the human condition.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Your right on the money tony when you point out the propagandist motives of business interests in calling skill shortages, to allow/justify the importation of a more compliant, non Union and cheaper labor force.

      You are also correct to observe that the ability of our Country to quickly “Skill up” using its own population is proven, as it had been done before and in my opion can eaisly done again.

      But to ridiculously blame the current state of dismal political management on the existence, of an already eroding, wealfare state is just so far of the mark that it leaves me thinking your just stirring the pot, looking for a leftist rant in reply.

      You wana know why there is a skill shortage in construction, its because fuck all construction contractors employ apprentices any more, in some trades I havent seen one in 15 years!
      In the past apprentice ratios were mandated, and the unions paid close attention too, its all a dog eat dog race to the bottom on price, and along with the talk of more deregulation and free market efficiency fantasies the situation is gona get worse,….and then you go on about,…its all because poor people are not starving enough!,…Wanker!

      • No not looking for a rant, just sharing my views based on what I see every day at school, a fairly substantial bunch of low socioeconomic group who prefer to waste their’s and school’s time because they get govt support to be students. I am the CA at my school I talk with industry in various forum and agree with the fault of industry and argued just that with an employer on Monday.

        I am a leftist I am a plumber retrained and I am objective on this matter. You are always welcome to 2443 to discuss all issues and view the evidence for your self.

    • The problem isn’t a lack of hunger for work, it’s a lack of work to do.

      A million-plus un- and underemployed, only 150,000 jobs.

      But, yeah, you’re right. The problem is lazy dole bludgers subsisting on an ever-diminishing safety net. ::rolleyes::

  2. Whatever the cause, we should stop importing jumbo loads of useless fucking unskilled immigrants. It’s bad enough bringing in engineers and accountants for jobs that don’t exist, but importing unskilled people with poor English who may not even be literate in their own language is a colossal mistake.

  3. We can import plenty of cheap baristas and chiefs etc. We have a massive under employment problem in our youth. As commented above training of our own for real jobs no longer occurs. Global corporations who have the pockets of government, care not for our youth or society.

    We will pay dearly for this neglect, perhaps its already started, in the form of the rise of anti-immigration sentiment and racism etc. These same trends are blamed for BREXIT and rise of TRUMP

    Our lazy ignorant youth will realise shortly that they have been screwed. The the hired help you imported are taking their jobs and futures, and that they are poor because you (baby boomers) are rich.

    Social cohesion is in real peril.