The flow of talent in pre-covid days
During the past 70 years, Australia has welcomed more than 7 million migrants, which contributed a great deal to the country’s social fabric and economic vibrancy.
Skilled visas have allowed a steady flow of talent coming into the country, enabling economic growth and skilled migrants have been filling in the gaps for a range of professions, from technical to medical to educational – to name a few.
Australian’s businesses and recruiters have been able to run recruitment drives in other countries such as India and Singapore to get talent to move and progress their career Down Under.
POST-PANDEMIC RECOVERY = TALENT SHORTAGE
Border closures have impacted various sectors, such as hospitality, medical and of course tech.
Whilst on one hand this has prevented Australian brain drain to North America, on the other “we need thousands and thousands more engineers in this country” says Jeromy Wells, CEO of cloud communications technology company Whispir.
The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) has stressed the urgency of increased — and more flexible — temporary and permanent migration, as global competition for skills and talent intensifies in the post-pandemic recovery.
In the tech space alone, Australia needs 156,000 new technology workers by 2025 to ensure economic growth is not harmed by the skills shortage, states a research published in February by Deloitte Access Economics and RMIT Online shows.
TALENT SHORTAGE OR TALENT MISMATCH?
Whilst Prime Minister Scott Morrison believes talent shortage is the “single biggest challenge facing the Australian economy” in recovering from the COVID-19, Immigratiom Minister Alex Hawke maintains a more positive stand, confident that the pandemic hasn’t affected our country as a skilled migrant destination.
But as the debate goes on, what’s being overlooked is the question: does Australia have a talent shortage issue or a talent mismatch?
One in four unemployed Australians are graduates and Australian employers are not keen to invest money, time and resources to employ and train them if they can get similarly skilled employees from overseas. And the problem is even worse among international graduates, who just like Australians, have studied in universities and through VET providers that were supposedly providing them with the skills Australian businesses need.
What to do?
To improve skill matching and development, a mindset shift is required from Australian employers who need to start seriously considering training and upskilling programs, graduate recruitment programs and micro-apprenticeships to address the digital skills gap and the on-going technology and market changes.
THE JOBS OF TOMORROW ARE NOW
To no surprise, the job market is undergoing a massive evolution, in a world impacted by a global pandemic on one hand and the unstoppable pace of technology on the other (think of Robotic Process Automation, for example). Businesses and individuals have literally been thrown into the future of work, which has been fast forwarded within a few months.
Jobs that existed prior COVID-19 may no longer exist or have a very different skillset requirement.
So to keep up with countries that are leaders in the digital space internationally, Australia needs to do more. To become a digital leader, our country would need to double the current growth rate in the training of technology workers. These technology workers are also a key to promoting the future prosperity in Australia, especially in the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) industry ,which is expected to grow by $10 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA) over the next five years.
Burning Glass Technologies data on job advertisements from 2020 found some of the most advertised occupations include Computer Network and Systems Engineer (1.6%) and Information Officer (1.5%).
The image below show the most demanded skill areas in Australia, according to data collected in the RMIT Online Report.
The graph below shows that, whilst most Australians have a good idea of the skills in demand, very few are ready for the jobs of tomorrow.
RMIT has come up with a useful checklist for businesses and employers to go about their training:
1. Develop a dedicated training strategy to make training a core business activity
2. Conduct an audit of current skills to compare with future skills needed
3. Bring your staff into the fold via surveys on training preferences
4. Match training delivery to skill needs
5. On-going evaluation of training programs
6. Ensure new skills are applied right away on the job, to mitigate risk of losing skills
It’s time to upskill.