Identifying Your Skills Job Hunting

Where are these skill shortages anyway?

This is a continuation of previous blog post – Have you heard about the skills gap?  You might like to read that article first.

Before I start please be advised that I am writing about this topic from an Australian perspective.  The comments and points I discuss in this article may not apply to your particular location if you are not currently living in Australia.

A caution: Labour markets are fluid and a skills shortage does not guarantee you a job even if you have trained or re-trained in a particular field.  This is because shortages are often in occupations that need specific skills, qualifications and experience.  So, any job or training decisions you are making should not be made just on predicted skill shortages.  Make sure that you are interested in the field you are entering and have the capability (intellect, physical and emotional) to stay the course.

It would be an understatement to say that Covid-19 has had a major impact on jobs and employment.  In April 2020 we began to see jobs being lost and vacancy rates fall dramatically.  Now in December 2020 we can see a significant rebound with jobs returning to the hospitality and retail sectors and a strong demand for construction trades.

The period between March and now has seen a shift in focus to those occupations that are considered resilient.  Australia’s National Skills Commission has a formula for identifying these occupations and the list of the most resilient jobs include:

  • Professionals such as speech pathologists, audiologists, medical practitioners and mid-wives.
  • Community and personal service workers including aged and disabled carers, as well as security officers.
  • Machinery operators and drivers working in agricultural, forestry and horticulture, as well as plant operators and delivery drivers.

And the industries that these jobs fall within are:

  • Health care and social assistance
  • Education and training
  • Construction
  • Mining
  • Transport, postal and warehousing.

You can see from these lists that many of the ‘essential’ workers fell into these categories, along with public administration and emergency services.

Let’s take a closer look at three categories.

Health Professions – Around 45% of employers had unfilled vacancies in 2017-18 with strong shortages in audiologists, sonographers, optometrists and medical diagnostic radiographers. Part of the demand is the need to service an increasingly ageing population as well as the need to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Growth has meant that bachelor degree graduates are highly likely to obtain a job soon after graduation.  Employment in the health care and social assistance industry is projected to expand at double the pace of all industries over the next few years to May 2023.

Food Trades – In 2018 one third of employers did not have any suitable applicants for their vacancies with major shortages for pastry chefs, bakers and butchers.  Only 31% of vacancies for bakers were filled.

Almost all employers required applicants to have at least a Certificate III qualification and were expected to have two to four years post apprenticeship experience.

Initial demand was due to international tourism which has now declined as a result of Covid-19 but demand is now growing because more Australian’s are holidaying at home and taking staycations. 

While supply is declining partly due to a decrease in available apprenticeships, employment in the food trades is expected to grow by over 14% in the next few years to 2023.

Construction trades – The Australian federal and state governments have fast forwarded their infrastructure projects and this, along with the HomeBuilder program which supports jobs in the residential construction sector, is a strong source of jobs growth.

Even before the pandemic only 44% of vacancies were being filled.  Glaziers and wall and floor tilers were in demand the most, with only 24% of glazier and 21% of floor and wall tiler vacancies being filled.  Other trades in high demand include painters, carpenters and joiners, bricklayers, plumbers, cabinet makers, plasterers and stonemasons. 

85% of the vacancies required candidates to be trade qualified. 

Demand is driven by the value of building work in the pipeline.  National employment of construction trades is projected to grow by 6.5% in the period to May 2023 and there are some indications that apprenticeships are on the increase.

So, where does this leave you?  Are you looking for your first job or changing careers?

Let me help you to develop your resume or craft your cover letter. 

Please contact me now.