Employer market’ will not last
Health sector shortage
By Kate Southam
In the next decade health professionals and teachers will retire in larger numbers than newly
qualified replacements will hit the job market, according to the latest Clarius Skills Index.
For every 110 health professionals who retire, only 84 qualified people will join the
workforce. The health sector jobs include GPs, nurses, pharmacists, vets and dieticians. In the
education sector, for every 107 people retiring, only 73 qualified people will be available to
fill their shoes.
And Clarius forecasts that 18 per cent of engineering professionals will retire in the next few
Clarius Group CEO Kym Quick says with so much economic uncertainty sending jitters through the
current job market it is easy to forget what lies ahead when an aging workforce overlaps with
Ms Quick says that in 1998 less than 8.3 per cent of the labour force was aged between 55 and
65 years while today that age group accounts for 13.8 per cent of the workforce.
The Clarius Skills Index uses a ranking system where 100 represent a balance of supply and
demand. The June quarterly index was in balance while the September ranking measured 99.7 in
favour of supply after the entry of 8,500 skilled people into the jobs market. That figure is
based on employment demand and newly qualified people entering the market.
The Clarius Skills Index for Tradespersons remained unchanged during the September quarte and
the number of occupations with skills shortages shrank from eight to seven. The occupations
currently experiencing shortages of skilled labour were:
Mechanical and Fabrication Engineering Tradespersons (112.2 in the Sep Q; 108.9 in the Jun Q);
Chefs (107.8 in Sep; 105.3 Jun);
Automotive Tradespersons (103.7 Sep; 103.8 Jun);
Hairdressers (101.8 Sep; 101.1 Jun);
Food Tradespersons (101.1 Sep; 101.8 Jun);
Computing Professionals (100.4 Sep; 100.5 Jun); and
Wood Tradespersons (100.3 Sep; 102.6 Jun).
Ms Quick says in the current market many employers are opting for contractors and temporary
staff rather than permanent hires but that there were “clear indications” that the employment
market would recover and that demand for skills would be higher than ever.
“The reality now is that the problem of skills gaps persists in seven of the 20 occupations
surveyed and will re-emerge for many others once the economy picks up pace and hiring follows
Ms Quick says the projections of skill shortfalls in sectors such as health and education could
worsen if enrolments to relevant courses fall and or employers fail to convince older workers
to stay in the workforce past retirement age.
She says employers should remember the critical skill shortages of 2007 just before the GFC
“Back then employers were prepared to hire on attitude and train and develop a new recruit in
the technical skills required. Since the GFC, training and development budgets have been cut
and employers instead want the perfect fit candidate.”
As well as being prepared to develop the current crop of employees, organisations also have to
ensure they find a way to transfer the knowledge and skills of older workers to a new
generation before they leave the business.
CareerOne.com.au, November, 2011