13 November 2012

Global recruiter: Australia needs skilled workers

One of the world's largest recruitment firms has highlighted Australia's growing need for skilled workers, and not just in the highly publicised mining and resources industries.

Australia visa

Global recruiting firm Hays says Australia's need for skilled workers outside of the mining and resources industries is growing.

Leading global recruitment firm Hays recently launched its global skills index, an analysis of 27 developed countries' market conditions, and chief executive Alistair Cox took the opportunity to discuss the need for skilled workers in Australia aside from the mining boom.

The well publicised and much discussed mining sector has produced unprecedented levels of opportunity for qualified professionals and kept the Australian economy moving throughout the global financial crisis. Much has been made of the need for foreign skilled workers in the industry to ensure the continued progress of the sector while the world's economies stabilise.

However, Mr Cox says other industries are in even greater need of foreign skilled workers than the resources and mining industries.

"What we are hearing many of our clients saying is...doing something to help pump prime those sectors outside of mining is what we need to do," said Mr Cox.

"If you could somehow separate the mining sector from the Australian economy, I think you would find an economy that finds itself in quite a difficult and fragile place."

Hay's global skills index report showed that Australia was not alone in its shortage of skilled workers, with 16 of the 27 in similar positions but with the 'two speed' economy created by the success of the mining boom, Mr Cox says Australia faces a tougher proposition.

"The super-buoyancy of the mining sector has really fuelled the economy but we see areas that are in Sydney and Melbourne that are in a very tough marketplace right now, not strong at all. It is actually very difficult in many areas."

In order to combat the growing talent shortage in Australia, Hays has recommended a more targeted immigration program alongside fiscal incentives for employers to provide training for local workers.

"Australia is coming into an election year and the government should be thinking about pump priming the economy," said Mr Cox.

Leonie Cotton, casework manager at the Australian Visa Bureau, says the lucrative opportunities on offer during the peak of the mining boom meant that other industries were allowed to slow.

"During the peak of the boom two years ago, truck drivers could find six figure salaries such was the need for manpower, let alone skilled workers," said Ms Cotton.

"The boom was so good for the Australian economy - particularly when the rest of the world suffered - and the opportunities so tempting for workers, it's understandable that other industries went without much notice.

"But now Australia needs a more balanced economy and that means more skilled workers in more industries will be needed.

The new SkillSelect program gives the government more control over Australia visa grants and we expect to see a greater variety of skills across more of Australia coming through over the next few months."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.

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