Right, so I’m back after almost 6 weeks. What did I miss? Other than a new PM in Australia, more gun violence in the US…and the fact that, according to the OECD, Australia has the second tightest skills market in the world.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much over the last 5 – 6 weeks because I’ve been in the US speaking at the annual Association for Talent Development (ATD) conference (funnily enough about employee retention).

Following that, I was on a dive holiday in Far North Queensland (stay tuned for Friday’s post, which will include sharks, turtles, barracuda and an assortment of more of my fishy friends.)

Now down to business. It won’t come as a shock to anyone in Australia reading this post that we are in a very skills-short market. According to both The Australian Financial Review (AFR)and SmartCompany, the OECD’s Economic Outlook for June pegged our skills shortage as second only to Canada’s in the developed world.

Specifically, last week the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed 420,000 vacant jobs. According to Smart Company, this translates into 2.8% of the labour market — or one in 35 jobs — being empty.

I’m currently fielding 2 questions from clients in Australia and the US about the skills shortage.

🙋‍♂️ “Now that the borders are open in Australia how long will it be before our skills shortage abates?” and

🙋‍♂️ “The upcoming US recession will surely help the skills shortage (and put realign candidates’ expectations), right?”

I will answer the first question today and the second tomorrow.

The border closures certainly have not helped the Australian skills shortage – nor have they been the main reason behind it. This is a structural skills shortage that we’ve seen coming for a while now, and it primarily has to do with the ageing population in Australia. The Commonwealth’s Intergenerational Report said that over the next 40 years Australia’s participation rate will go down by almost 25% due to our ageing population.

We have relied on immigration to make up the increasing shortfall for years but remember, this is a GLOBAL skills shortage and Australia is in competition with Canada, the UK and the US for skills.

So, opening borders MAY help to ease the skills shortage in certain sectors but certainly won’t solve it. Especially since, according to the AFR, the Morrison government’s last budget reduced funding for the migration function of the Department of Home Affairs by $875 million.

How do we overcome this skills shortage? There are only 4 ways:

✅ Retain the ones you have

✅ Set yourself apart from your talent competitors by having a better story and telling it well

✅ Think differently about how you fill roles

✅ Use all sourcing strategies you have available and use them well

I’d love to hear your thoughts on any or all of this.

#talentacquisition #futureofwork