Widening skills gap imperils post-pandemic recovery

A new report from Swinburne’s Centre for the New Workforce indicates that the skills gap in Australia continues to widen and must be addressed immediately. The research reveals that recent investments made by the government are still not enough to address the matter and that additional measures that might need to be implemented.

Swinburne has called for more public-private sector cooperation as well as a need to identify opportunities outside Australia in order to accelerate closing the skills gap.

“Broadening the skill base of Australians is vital for economic growth and prosperity,” the report’s author and the Centre’s Adjunct Industry Fellow, Dr Ben Hamer, said. “By adopting lessons from overseas, Australia has an opportunity to accelerate skills growth and support greater collaboration across the public and private sector.”

The report made the following recommendations to help in addressing the skills gap:

  • Embedding a robust system of micro-credentialing into the review of the Australian Qualifications Framework.
  • Encourage innovation by empowering individuals through learning.
  • Investment in robust and timely forecasts on the demand for skills, using real-time data, led by the National Skills Commission.
  • Incentives for employers to support retraining, particularly government-supported learning initiatives for vulnerable workers and at-risk individuals.

Modelling by PwC and the World Economic Forum suggests that by closing the skills gap, Australia could see an uplift of up to 5.9 per cent of GDP and the creation of 200,000 jobs by 2030.