Skill Shortages

Generally skill shortages arise whenever there is gap between the skill set of the available human resources and the needs of the industry. This causes difficulty for the employers and creates work opportunity for skilled migrants to move into the country.

The Australian Government has elaborated on Skill Shortages as these exist when employers are unable to fill or have considerable difficulty in filling vacancies for an occupation or specialised skill within that occupation. Shortages are typically for specialised and experienced workers, can coexist with relatively high overall unemployment in the occupation, and many exist in some regions and not in others.

Annually, the Department of Employment researches and surveys the labour market. The resultant reports are based on information at state, territory, national and occupational levels. Skills shortage in various occupations and industries has a negative impact on the productivity and hampers the potential of country’s economic growth.

Multiple factors could lead to shortages on skills.

  • Sometimes there may be few qualified workers with the specialised skill set in demand.
  • At other times particular regions may not have the required numbers of skilled personnel.
  • Also, with the rapid changes in terms of technology, the requirements vary and hence the demand-supply situation indicates shortages.
  • New industries are coming up and growing globally, giving rise to newer occupations.
  • There have also been instances where job seekers show lack of interest in certain industries.
  • On occasions there is a gap between the ageing workforce that is retiring and the new entrants joining in and contributing at the same levels.  

It is noteworthy for the migration aspirants that these skill shortages are dynamic. Planning and executing their education, training or certification based on this list could take time. By the time they become job-ready the list could have been revised.

Certain occupations in the list could also need relevant work experience in addition to the specified skill set. Hence it might be an idea to weigh various criterions like personal aptitude, industry trends, work preferences and educational background before going ahead with any investment (say in a course or training program).

Here are links to some useful information relating to the labour market in Australia:

  1. Australian Skills Shortages list : skills shortage lists at the national as well as the state-wise levels
  2. Labour Market Information Portal : Here Department of Employment publishes a wide range of information about the labor market
  3. Australian Jobs : Offers information on labour market  along with forward-looking occupational and industry information
  4. Job Outlook: An Australian Government Initiative, it provides information covering around 350 individual occupations
  5. Australian Regional Labour Markets publication: This quarterly publication presents statistics on employment, unemployment, the unemployment rate
  6. Small Area Labour Markets: Provides regional estimates of unemployment and the unemployment rate

It is important to note that this list of skills shortage doesn’t guarantee a job or relate to any specific vacancy. It is just an indication of the trends including priorities in the Australian labour market.

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