Earlier this month, the Australian Industry Group released Skilling: A National Imperative, a report that documents a multitude of issues affecting the domestic employment sector. The publication is based on the 2018 Workforce Development Needs Survey, which captures the sentiment of employers regarding the skillsets and training of workers.
One of the main takeaways from the report were the major pressure points facing employers “at a critical time for industry transformation”, which have the potential to impact negatively on Australia’s business sector. These pressures include:
A damning 75 per cent of respondents identified skill shortages, particularly in STEM. It was the first time business automation, artificial intelligence solutions and Big Data were all included on the skills shortage list.
Workers at all levels are in a rush to become more digitally literate, led by managers (33 per cent are prioritising digital training), technicians/trade workers and administration staff (both 18 per cent) and professionals (16 per cent).
Literacy and Numeracy
It’s hard to comprehend but an astonishing 99 per cent of employers say they are impacted in some capacity by low levels of literacy and numeracy, along with being “dissatisfied with the basic numeracy and literacy levels of over one-fifth of school leaver entrants”.
Leadership and Management
More than half of employers (62 per cent) suspect “a lack of leadership and management skills is having a high impact on the business, an increase on 2016”. Suggested areas of improvement include problem solving, initiative and enterprise.
Employers are planning to increase training expenditure, which would see it at the highest level since the survey started in 2012, while the proportion of mature age apprentices (42.9 per cent) has also risen.