18 February 2005

Labour shortage forecast for Australia

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The ageing of Australia's population will lead to permanent labour shortages across many industries by 2010, suggests a recent report.

An Australian-based employment solutions company said the shortages would make it much harder for businesses to maintain productivity levels and meet demand. As a result, Australia's gross domestic produce (GDP) could fall by 1.5 per cent over the next 40 years.

The white paper published by Drake shows the growth in labour supply would be firmly concentrated in the group aged 45 and over for the foreseeable future.


"Severe labour shortages are already being felt in the skilled trades and the automotive, education, health and transport and distribution sectors." Drake said it expected this trend to become more widespread over the next five years because of Australia's falling fertility rate.


“Australia is making a concerted effort to address its labour shortages through immigration. If you looking at the Migration Occupations in Demand List for Australia, you’ll see skilled trades people are well represented,” said Chris Cook, Case Work Department, Visa Bureau. “Skilled trades, accountants, medical practitioners and qualified chefs are currently eligible for extra-points under the skilled visa migration program for Australia.”


"We estimate 85 per cent of all workforce growth will be supplied by people aged over 45 by 2012, up from 32 per cent in 1992," Drake said. "This is a phenomenal shift in just 20 years."


The firm went on to say organisations were largely unaware of the impact the trend would have on their business. A well-planned response, including increasing the number of skilled migrants, is fundamental to business continuity in Australia.


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