Software Development

What Australian skills shortage?

The number of industries suffering from a skills shortage in Australia is decreasing, and IT doesn't even rate a mention.

There was a time in Australia when almost everyone was suffering from a skills shortage — that time was 2007.

Updated research from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations shows that the Australian labour market has been softening over the past five years in terms of skills shortages.

"Skill shortages were markedly less widespread in 2011-12 than they were in 2007-08, but employers seeking to recruit workers with specialist skills and experience continued to have difficulty recruiting," said the report.

Recruitment difficulty, it seems, is the new skills shortage. The term is defined as a state where there are qualified applicants, but some employees have difficulty in finding suitable workers. An example of this is looking for specialist skills in a job posting.

As IT people, it should sound familiar. No lack of applicants, but who has the seven years of experience on iOS development necessary to meet the job criteria to get past the recruitment flack? (People who can meet this claim should be hired on the spot for their time-travelling capabilities alone.)

A look at the graph below shows how much of the skills shortage has been replaced by recruitment difficulty.

The discussion of IT jobs needs to be reframed from a shortage of skills to a difficulty in finding adequately experienced specialists. Unfortunately, though, this does not invoke the desired emotive responses in the general populace.

Despite many reports on skills shortages released today, one of the few instances where IT got a look-in was on the below graph, which shows IT employment increasing over the year to November 2012.

While IT may be leading the drop on the Internet Vacancy Index, it is, as ever, not as bad as it appears at first glance.

About

Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

11 comments
peterlonz
peterlonz

In fact it may be me that's daft, but does anyone else see the presentation of information using this "chart" as less than satisfactory. Additional to the difficulty of deciding what is being reported, there are some figures that appear absurd, for example how might one explain a 50% reduction in Public Admin & safety? Beats me!

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

Few people want to do the educational work and do the apprentice time needed to be both skilled and experienced. Everyone wants to start of as company president. Parents don't have the right priorities and don't press their kids to excel so the kids are self directed and just float through school and figure they will either be a star football player or movie star. But, really it has always been that way; too bad we are living in a world economy that doesn't suffer this foolishness.

ug123
ug123

Glad to hear lazy people in Australia are finally going and working. Looks like Australias unemployment coffers has run dry.

Ozcos
Ozcos

Can only speak for the IT sector, But I find the problem can be as simple as companies, employers and decisions makers within, generally don’t have a clue what skills they require more so in the small business areas. Of course there are recruitment issues if you advertise for “Genenal IT technician” when you really require a SQL specialist. or you’re interviewing java coders when you need a hardware technician. Anyhow I got out of the “being employed” game a couple years ago to setup company when I spent the previous couple of years only working for a month or so for each company, job hopping. When I was always left asking myself “why be employed when I can too, setup company full of skilled people doing unskilled work?” As a result I guess my resume now has about 100+ skilled jobs I’m capable of doing. From cleaning toilets to feeding the boss’s horses and in those couple of years I managed to get paid for about 10hours of IT work of which only about 2 of those hours I was qualified to do. Food for thought!

Dukhalion
Dukhalion

There was, and is, a shortage of [b]really cheap[/b] highly trained professionals. And how do You get cheap workers? By [u]claiming[/u] a skills shortage. This encourages a lot of people to study for the same professions, which releases an abundance of skilled professionals, who have to compete for the same few jobs = lower their salarybids. I see this everywhere I look in western countries. And if the salarylevel doesn't get low enough fast enough our companies import cheap workers from abroad or outsource jobs. This may seem a good idea from an individual company's point of view, but it creates a national disaster. Instead of employing our trained domestic workers most of them are made unemployed, which makes taxes rise (and criminality, after all, the unemployed have to eat too). For every dollar that goes to an "outside" worker we have to somehow make three dollars to compensate for it. One to pay the the worker, one more to balance the export/import balance, and a third one to keep the unemployed domestic professional alive. It's very simple economics, but everyone is thinking "Let others handle it". [u]But there are no others[/u], only selfish companies.

Phil689
Phil689

England and US are economic basket cases and are just not in the running. Australia is performing very well economicaly, all things considered. We have been in the recruitment and immigration field for some 20 years and have been (and are), very busy indeed, at least over the previous 4 years (not complaining). Out of every 10 clients on average 3 are Irish, 2 indian, 2 Chinese, 2 Englsh, 1 US/Canadian. Not sure how you (or DEEWR) got the stats you are quoting.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

A shortage of skilled people who'll work for the same salary someone in India or China et al. i.e a handfull of rice per hour.

Rob3214
Rob3214

I have realised that it is best not to tell the truth with recruiters. You will do yourself out of a job. Questions like: 'do you have 5 years experience with XXXX?' when you have 1 years experience. It makes little difference to being able to do the job. I have seen too many people lie their way into roles and then pick up skills by sponging off suckers like me. No more!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I was watching the idiot box the other week (attractive presenter again), and for the first time in three decades plus, I heard a left wing socialist leaning teacher type admit that maybe, just maybe competition didn't necessarily harm children. That may be no child left behind, didn't have to mean every other child held back. Exactly who's doing what to whom can be debated, that our children have been left with mindset of high expectation achieved through the minimum of effort, isn't. Yes I know some kids work hard, some recidivists insist on competing and winning. Neither encouraged nor rewarded in school though as far as I can see. As long as they can massage the exam results so more than x% get a pass, as far as I can make out they don't care. It's not all their fault but they aren't helping, and that's their role...

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