The skills shortage issue in the Australian labour market is very apparent. In any case, the reasons as to why this is occurring always relates to factors of change. These factors of change include; the general economic conditions, conditions in the firms industry, changes in technology, the ageing population, the demand for labour, and the education, skills and experience of workers. The government investigates ways in which they can protect the Australian economy and the Australian workforce. This is done by the analysis of policies that could be put in place.
The Budget Speech announced by Wayne Swan includes government policies that can address the issue of the skills shortage in the Australian labour market. Jobs and Skills Expos are held to encourage participation in the workforce. The forever changing economic conditions influence the employment rate. In a positive economic state, more people are purchasing goods and services, which therefore create more jobs for employees. When there are changes in the demand for labour, fluctuations can occur in the business cycle. The conditions in the firm’s industry have a significant effect on the success of the firm.
The demand increases in industries that sell a product that is highly demanded by consumers. Likewise, the demand will decrease in industries that have low demand for their products. It is impossible to avoid the effects of the advances in technology. Technological change is well known for making jobs redundant. Many businesses have been positively affected by technological advancement. They are able to replace employees for new and improved data-processing technologies which improve the speed of production. In this case, reducing the requirement for labour benefits employers, while employees lose their jobs.
On the other hand, new technologies can provide new job opportunities, with high demand for employees with specific technology skills. Jobs are also commonly known to become redundant due to the introduction of capital. Machines are quickly replacing human labour especially in the industries of manufacturing, agriculture and services. The ageing population refers to the median of a countries population rising. This trend of an ageing population is occurring due to the retirement on a high per cent of the population.
To make matters worse, in the 21st century less people are having children, therefore making it difficult to fill the gaps of the retired. On top of all that, the tax rate will rise to compensate for the increase in the number of retirees. There is an increase in fiscal pressure on the government to respond to the increase in spending on health care services, pensions and other public services triggered by population. Education, skills and experience affect the supply of labour within an economy. It is essential for an economy to have a productive and highly skilled workforce.
Those who go through many years of education and training will, in the end, earn higher wages, and vice versa. The education, skills and experience requirements for certain jobs can restrict the supply of labour. If an individual wants to obtain a highly skilled career, it is essential for them to put their goals first, sacrificing their time, money and leisure. The demand for labour within the resource sector is knowingly large, especially in the mining industry. The Australian economy is booming due to the ‘mining boom’. There is an enormous demand for labour to do these jobs and complete projects.
Highly skilled and trained people operate heavy machinery within mines. Operating heavy machinery within a mine requires high skills and a lot of training. This creates an excess demand for the skill at the existing wage rate. There is a lack of these professional workers within the mining industry which puts stress on the government, unions and most importantly, on labourers. Due to the lack of labour, the federal government has been migrating workers from overseas to help fill in the gaps of the skills shortage. The federal government is planning on importing 1715 foreign workers to Australia for a major mining project.
The Unions are furious about this, saying that Australian workers should be a priority. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and the Australian Workers Union (AWU) will continue to push the government to have jobs for local workers advertised before bringing in foreign workers. The known skills shortage within the resource sector has been rising gradually desperate with 33,000 workers needed in Western Australia alone in the following year. The required education involved in particular to jobs restricts the supply of labour.
Wayne Swan announced in the budget speech 2010-2011, a new Skills for Sustainable Growth Strategy. 661 million has been organised to be invested into the workforce and the education training systems to make them more responsive and flexible to the economic needs of the workforce. The government has responded to the skills shortage problem in the Australian labour market by introducing a strategy that will bring about 70,000 new training places for workers over the next 4 years. The provision of moral support for 22,500 young apprentices is also an attractive strategy to new workers. There will be easier accessibility to quality training to strengthen the connection between business and training needs.
There will also be easier access to training in core foundation skills like numeracy and literacy. Another way the Australian government has addressed this issue is by holding jobs and skills expos as part of the Australia Government’s Building Australia’s Future Workforce Package. There will be information on jobs that are open and jobs that will be essential in the future. Information on training and exercising new skills in the workforce is provided to those looking for work. There are great opportunities to meet with employers, government agencies, training and education providers and community groups.