18 November 2009
Skilled Australian immigration needed to combat shortfall of 1.4m workers: research
New research has found that Australia faces a potential skills shortfall equivalent to 1.4 million workers by 2025 unless workforce participation increases.
To combat the shortfall the Workplace Futures report, prepared by the Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry, recommends raising the retirement age and boosting Australian immigration numbers with skilled migrants.
Australia is expected to see strong population growth, figures based on the continuation of high birth and net migration rates, but the paper warns the ageing population will mean a decline in workforce growth which will exacerbate labour shortages.
Skills shortages already exist in many industries in Australia, and skilled workers in occupations like nursing and IT are highly sought after by the Government and often given visa processing priority.
"The prominence of demographic change and skill shortages has recently been overtaken by the economic downturn of the last 12 months," the paper says.
"With unemployment increasing over that period, it would be easy to assume we no longer have a labour or skills shortage problem. However, skills shortages still exist in many industries, and the reality of Australia's ageing workforce means we face a structural deficit of workers over the next 15 years."
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people emigrate to Australia.