Over half of businesses in NSW and the Hunter region are experiencing skill shortages, according to the 2019 Workforce Skills Survey, released by the state’s peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber.
Results of the survey were released to coincide with the start of National Skills Week in August.
Hunter Business Chamber CEO, Bob Hawes, expressed that the results show that more work needs to be done to upskill the next generation.
“The Workforce Skills Survey findings are clear – more must be done to train the next generation to ensure the economy has the requisite skills to sustain existing and future economic activity,” Bob said.
“About fifty-five per cent of businesses surveyed in the Hunter region reported skills shortages, although the figure for the Hunter excluding Newcastle was sixty-four per cent – the second highest of all regions.
“The prospect of shortages over the next twelve months was also a significant concern for businesses in the Hunter beyond Newcastle, with 61.4 per cent nominating impending shortages as an issue, compared with 43.4 per cent state-wide,” Bob continued.
Hunter businesses surveyed reported the highest number of vacancies per workplace, with an average of seven FTE (fulltime equivalent) vacancies.
One quarter of Hunter businesses reported that the skills shortage was having a significant negative impact on their business, compared with 20.3 per cent state-wide.
The most common reason for skills shortages reported by businesses across the Hunter was a lack of applicants with suitable skills.
“While the number of businesses across the state experiencing a skills shortage in 2019 is slightly lower than in 2017, those businesses experiencing skill shortages are carrying more job vacancies, (82,000 in 2019, compared to 54,000 in 2017),” Bob said.
“We must address the mismatch between the skills young people are obtaining and the skills businesses require, starting with ensuring that schools are making students aware of, and promoting, the breadth of options available during and after schooling, and providing more exposure to meaningful work experience.
Bob Hawes said that to help address the skills shortages in NSW, the Chamber are calling for;
- A doubling of the number of school-based apprenticeships delivered in NSW each year (currently QLD delivers almost four times as many as NSW).
- Industry-based careers advice for students and parents from year nine for all schools across NSW.
- Increased utilisation of existing TAFE facilities and resources to boost training outcomes.
“The new Regional Industry Education Partnerships will hopefully go some way towards increasing school, student and family engagement with local industries, but we must do even more to develop ongoing partnerships,’’ Bob said.
“Over sixty per cent of businesses reported that they would be interested in supporting more school students into work, and over forty per cent are interested in employing more apprentices and trainees.”
A comprehensive look at the survey findings can be found on the Hunter Business Chamber website.
IMAGE | Skills shortages an issue in the Hunter Region, survey results reveal.
With more than 1800 members, the Hunter Business Chamber is the largest regional business chamber in Australia and represents the collective interests of a diverse range of sectors across the Region.
The Chamber provides members with a range of services from advocacy and business advice to information and networking opportunities.
Business support is vital in today's economic climate and our primary goal is to assist and represent the needs of businesses in our community.
The Chamber is committed to partnering with all industries in ensuring the ongoing growth and sustainability of the Hunter Region.