Labour Market Insights

Labour Market Insights Alexander Vilagosh Fri, 09/24/2021 - 14:01

Where do you look for a job?

Where do you look for a job? Alexander Vilagosh Tue, 09/21/2021 - 11:12

Finding a job

The first step on the road to employment is to find out what jobs are available. But where are jobs listed? Employers often use a number of methods to find candidates and below are some of the most common methods used.

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What employers are looking for

What employers are looking for Alexander Vilagosh Tue, 09/21/2021 - 11:13

As the jobs market recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to understand what employers are looking for. From January to June 2021, employers who had recruited in the previous month received an average of 14 applicants for every vacancy advertised online.

Generally, employers are looking for someone with the whole package: the right qualifications are typically essential and work experience is often a pre-requisite. Also, do not forget your employability skills! National Skills Commission (NSC) data suggests that employers may be willing to compromise on some things, depending on the type of job, but not on others. For example, an employer may hire someone as a Checkout Operator without any work experience but will insist on good teamwork and communication skills.

Education and training

Overall, work is becoming more highly skilled. Most jobs in the future will require a Vocational Education and Training (VET) or university qualification. In 2020, over two-thirds of Australians aged 20-64 years (69% or 10.4 million people) had a non-school qualification (a certificate, diploma, or degree). This has increased from 57% or 6.7 million people in 2005.

Completing Year 12 (or equivalent) is the minimum requirement for most employers, however, many are seeking people with post-school qualifications.

University is not the only pathway to a good job. Apprenticeships, traineeships, diplomas, or certificate III or IV level qualifications will also set you up for a stable and rewarding career. If you are considering a VET course or qualification, the best type of training is related to the job you want to do. But don’t do training for the sake of it! For example, Personal Carers often require certificates in food handling and first aid, but one certificate I (or several) may not help in the long-term. A certificate III or higher qualification will likely include the relevant training, along with a range of other units of competency that are important for this occupation.

In response to COVID-19, new short courses or ‘micro-credentials’, are also available to help you upskill (check out to search and compare available courses). These short courses can be a good way to gain new skills relevant to the jobs in demand.


Workplace experience is another important quality highlighted in the results of the NSC’s employer surveys. All jobs will give you valuable experience and help you develop vital employability skills. Regardless of the job, you will gain an understanding of what is expected in the workplace and be able to demonstrate to employers that you are committed to work, reliable and trustworthy. Most importantly, it gives you a foot in the door and provides you with an opportunity to build your network and gain referees.

Experience can be gained through part-time, casual, or temporary jobs, work experience placements, internships or even by volunteering.

What if you do not have any work experience?

If you don’t have any work experience, think about other ways to demonstrate your skills that could be relevant. NSC employer survey findings indicate you could provide examples from your school activities or work on group projects, working with your local sports club, even participating in debating, theatre or dance performances or chess competitions. Employers are also very encouraged by young people who participate in the community or volunteering activities.

There are also some jobs for which employers are more likely to consider someone without previous experience, such as Fast Food Cooks, Packers and Pharmacy Sales Assistants. Research conducted by the NSC indicated these jobs, along with General Sales Assistants and Checkout Operators, are routinely in demand.

Sources: ABS, Education and Work, Australia, May 2020; National Skills Commission, Recruitment Experiences and Outlook Survey, weighted data, 2021; National Skills Commission, Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences, 2018.

What you offer

What you offer Alexander Vilagosh Tue, 09/21/2021 - 11:20

Core competencies

Core competencies are the basic building blocks common across most occupations and industries. They describe a set of non-specialist skills gained in early life and schooling and provide a base to further develop skills and specialties. Popular terms for these include ‘foundation skills’, ‘common skills’, ‘soft skills’, ‘core skills’ and ‘employability skills’.

Employers often place a high value on these as they want someone who will be a good fit for their business. While you can gain these skills through work experience, they are not job-specific, cover a range of personal qualities and skills, and transfer across different occupations and industries.

Box infographic displaying the following text. Teamwork. Initiative and innovation. Digital literacy. Reading. Writing. Planning and organising. Oral communication. Problem solving. Learning. Numeracy.
Box infographic with the following text. 21st century skills. Creativity, presenting skills, critical thinking, financial literacy.

Research by the NSC highlights the importance of these skills, showing that three quarters of employers consider personal qualities at least as important as, if not more than, technical skills.

Pie chart. 25% of employers say technical skills are more important. 38% of employers say personal qualities are more important. 37% of employers say they are equally important.

Even though all employers are unique and place emphasis on different attributes, they will typically not compromise on employability skills specific to their job requirements. Feedback from employers shows that they can teach someone to use a machine, for example, but they cannot teach someone to be reliable or have good communications skills.

You need an excellent résumé and job application

Your résumé and application are often your first chance to market yourself to potential employers.

To improve your chances of reaching the next stage in the recruitment process, your application will need to stand out.

How do you do this?

  • Research the business and job. This will help you tailor your application and show your interest in the position.
  • Ring the employer and ask questions about the job and the business. This will help you understand the position and also demonstrates your enthusiasm and means the employer may remember you and look out for your application.
  • Be succinct. Your application and résumé should be around 1-2 pages each.
  • If possible, include examples from your current job, work history or extracurricular activities and explain how these directly relate to the position on offer.
  • Double and triple-check that there are no spelling or grammatical errors in your application.

Tailor your application to each job

Every job and business is different, so write your application specifically for each job. Do not fall into the trap of using generic applications: imagine what an employer would think if they receive an application suited to a role as a sales representative when their position is for an apprentice refrigeration mechanic.

Employers want the right match for their business and showing that you have read the job description carefully and researched their organisation will help set you apart from other candidates.

More advice on writing résumés and job applications can be found at

Digital job applications

Applying for a job has changed – the COVID-19 pandemic has seen employers and businesses implement new technologies in their recruitment practices. Video interviews have become the norm and, with flexible working arrangements, you can apply for jobs outside of your immediate location.

Here are some tips that may help you land a job online:

  • make sure you read all instructions carefully, so you don’t miss any steps
  • check that all information and responses for online applications are well thought out and don’t have any spelling or grammatical mistakes
  • make your résumé software friendly by using a simple format and clearly addressing any selection criteria
  • some employers will do an online search for your name or look at your social media profile, so ensure your digital presence is appropriate
  • be prepared for video interviews – know where to find a good internet connection and professional backdrop and make the most of the time available for each question. Also dress professionally – a good rule is to dress as you would for an interview in-person.

Sources: National Skills Commission, Australian Skills Classification; National Skills Commission, Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences, 2019.

Winning a job

Winning a job Alexander Vilagosh Tue, 09/21/2021 - 11:24

Tell your friends and family you are looking for a job

In 2018, National Skills Commission employer survey findings indicated more than a quarter (27%) of employers filled a job with someone they knew, directly or indirectly. This rose to 39% of employers in regional areas. It is common for employers to hire someone who is:

  • personally known to them, such as a friend or family contact
  • a professional contact (for example, a previous co-worker)
  • recommended by someone they know.

“I’m more likely to employ someone who is not experienced if they come looking for a job… it shows initiative.” Accommodation and Food Services employer

Depending on what job you are looking for and how affected it is by the COVID-19 pandemic, there may not be as many opportunities available at the moment. Telling friends, family contacts, school teachers or neighbours that you are currently looking for work can help improve your chances of hearing about a job opening, or even being recommended for one when an opening occurs. Good old-fashioned knocking on doors can also help – consider dropping off your résumé to businesses in your area. Often employers don’t advertise vacancies at all and instead refer back to these résumés and ring people when an opportunity comes up.

Don’t forget that social media is a perfectly good way to contact people too! However, don’t ask for a job straight away – send a simple message with what you have been doing, that you are looking to start working or move on from your previous job, and ask for some advice or insight. This way, if whoever you tell does become aware of an opportunity, they will be more likely to think of you. But take care! There are scammers who target job seekers online. If the message or email doesn’t look right, or if it sounds too good to be true, delete the message.

Get out there and talk to employers

If you don’t have a wide network of people, or if you have already told people you’re looking for work and haven’t heard anything, don’t be discouraged! Remember that approaching employers directly to ask if they have any positions available can also lead to a job.

From August 2020 to June 2021, for 8% of vacancies, employers considered people who had approached them looking for work, with many employers hiring them. Approaching employers lets you show your communication skills, initiative and motivation – traits that many employers are looking for. This can be a daunting prospect for many, however, make sure you use it as an opportunity to have a conversation and make a lasting impression. This will make you stand out amongst other job seekers who just drop off their résumé. If an employer doesn’t have a job available at the time, but suggests you get in contact again at a later date, make sure you follow up. It shows initiative, that you were listening and are keen. You could just be in the right place at the right time!

Get ready for the interview: Prepare, Plan, Practise and Presentation

The interview is usually the second stage of marketing yourself and landing a job. Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but some preparation beforehand can really help you stand out.

  • Practise interview questions with a friend or family member.
  • Prepare some questions about the job and business to ask at the interview. This demonstrates your interest and shows that you are prepared.
  • Think about your presentation and what you will wear. Remember, first impressions count!
  • Dress appropriately for the job. While formal business attire may be appropriate for a job based in an office, it may not be suitable for a job in the Construction industry.
  • Don’t be late! Find out where you need to be, plan your trip and aim to arrive at least 10 minutes early.
  • Explain the skills that you would bring to the job and talk about your personal and employability skills. Employers want to know who they will be working with and the interview is your opportunity to demonstrate this.
  • Prepare examples to demonstrate your skills and fit with the organisation based on your real-life experiences, such as at a previous job, while studying or volunteering.

What if your approach is not working?

You may need to consider:

  • whether your expectations are realistic – it is unlikely that you will start at the top and you need to show you are willing to work your way up from the bottom
  • widening your search to different types of jobs and locations
  • applying for contract or casual work, part-time or shift work.

Remember that all jobs can open doors to something better and give you valuable experience and skills — don’t just wait to land the perfect job.

“[The job seeker]… asked if we had any jobs going. We didn’t actually need anyone at the time, but she had good qualifications and a good personality so we added her.” Property and Real Estate Services employer

Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback if you are unsuccessful. Many employers will tell you why you didn’t get the job. With each application and interview you gain experience that you can use to improve your job search skills. It is all part of the job search experience.

Looking for a job is hard work. Depending on where you live, there can be a lot of competition for jobs. It can take a while to secure a position and you may receive knockbacks in the process, but if you keep trying, your efforts will pay off.

Remember, while some industries may take time to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be opportunities across many sectors, such as Construction and Health Care and Social Assistance (more information on these industries can be found on pages 15 and 16). COVID-19 may also speed up other trends, such as the move to online shopping. To boost your chances, you need to be flexible and look widely for opportunities – your first job may take you to the warehouse floor, rather than the shop floor!

Sources: National Skills Commission, Recruitment Experiences and Outlook Survey, weighted data, August 2020 to June 2021; National Skills Commission, Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences, 2018.

National Skills Commission

National Skills Commission Alexander Vilagosh Tue, 09/21/2021 - 13:05

The National Skills Commission (NSC) provides expert advice and national leadership on Australia’s current, emerging and future workforce skills needs. We also play an important role in simplifying and strengthening Australia’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) system.

The NSC researches the jobs market to provide up-to-date information about what’s happening now and into the future. We use data from a wide range of sources, including surveys of employers, and then apply cutting edge data analysis to produce insights. For example, we provide predictions of employment growth by industry, occupation and skills for the next five years, emerging occupations, and also how COVID-19 has impacted jobs in the Australian economy.

The NSC website will help you understand where the jobs in demand are, and what skills are needed to do those jobs.

Skills Priority List

This annual list provides a detailed view of shortages as well as the strength of future demand (strong, moderate or soft) for nearly 800 occupations at a national, state and territory level. This list is developed after wide consultation with stakeholders. It’s published on the NSC website and will be reviewed and updated every year.

Australian Skills Classification

This interactive interface identifies the range of skills linked to 600 occupations. The skill profiles comprise three elements – core competencies, specialist tasks and technology tools.

The classification also identifies common and transferable skills between occupations, and reveals the connections within, and across, occupations at the level of skills.

Nowcast of Employment by Region and Occupation

The Nowcast of Employment by Region and Occupation (NERO), is a new experimental dataset, developed by the National Skills Commission. It provides timely information on employment in 355 occupations across 88 regions in Australia. Until now, this type of data was only readily available every five years as part of the ABS Census of Population and Housing. With NERO, the insights can be produced monthly, searched either by occupation or region.

And Coming Soon, Labour Market Insights

Later this year, the NSC is launching a new website called Labour Market Insights which brings together the latest jobs market data, research and analysis. You will be able to find insights into employer needs, skills in-demand, and the future outlook for jobs in Australia. This website will bring together the detailed occupation profiles you can find now on the Job Outlook website ( and the rich store of local labour market data and research on the Labour Market Information Portal (

Skills for the Future

Skills for the Future Alexander Vilagosh Tue, 09/21/2021 - 13:09

Skills are key

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused large-scale disruption to Australian businesses, workplaces and jobs. Even as the Australian economy recovers, we are likely to see more workforce transitions due to increased digitisation, technological adoption and ongoing structural changes.

In these times of global uncertainty and change, skills are key. In March 2021, the National Skills Commission (NSC) published the very first Australian Skills Classification. The beta version of the Classification is currently available on the NSC website ( This release includes 600 occupation profiles highlighting the key skills attached to each job. This new classification contains three categories of skills for each occupation profile:

  • Core competencies: these are skills commonly used in all jobs (sometimes called ‘employability skills’).
  • Specialist tasks: these are the day-to-day work activities within a job.
  • Technology tools: technologies, such as software or hardware, used within a job.

The Classification also includes skills clusters, where similar skills are grouped together. These clusters show the connections and relationships that exist between skills across the labour market.

The Australian Government, through the NSC, provides a range of other job matching tools and resources to help young people and existing workers skill and reskill themselves for jobs and careers that are in demand. More information about these tools can be found at

What types of skills will be in demand?

When applying for jobs, remember to emphasise your core competencies (i.e. employability skills), rather than just the technical skills you may have. Oral communication, teamwork, problem solving, and initiative and innovation are required for all jobs, and this will continue to be the case in the future. These skills are also highly valued by employers across all sectors, as they are necessary in every job.

We also know it is important to have the skills that help you work with technology. Almost all jobs will require the use of at least one technology tool. Several technology tools are so universal in 2021 that they are likely to be used by most, if not all jobs. These common technology tools include using the internet, sending emails, texts or instant messages, and video conferencing.

Other technology tools are highly specialised and are specific to a job. For example, the primary task for Truck Drivers is driving a truck but technology tools support drivers to perform other tasks, such as using GPS receivers for more efficient and effective navigation and transportation.

Infographic occupation profile for Truck Drivers. 7331 Truck Drivers drive heavy trucks, removal vans, tankers and tow trucks to transport bulky goods and liquids. Core Competencies (all scores are out of 10):  4 - Digital engagement, 7 -Planning and organising, 5 – Writing, 5 – Reading, 5 - Oral communication, 4 – Numeracy, 4 – Learning, 5 - Problem solving, 6 - Initiative and innovation, 5 – Teamwork. Technology Tools: Enterprise resource planning ERP software, GPS receivers. Specialist Tasks: Operate veh

Can skills gained in one job be transferred to another job?

Many jobs have a similar set of skills. If you are looking for work or needing to change jobs, the good news is that you are likely to have many transferable skills. Identifying your transferable skills can open a broad range of job opportunities. The Australian Skills Classification can improve job matching by linking the skills required in one job to another. The Classification identifies the work activities or specialist tasks a person undertakes specific to a job. You can use the specialist tasks in the Classification to describe your full range of skills including relevant skills picked up through work experience, formal education and on-the-job training. Occupation profiles also provide a clearer understanding of employers’ skill needs and the transferable skills you may have.

Will training and qualifications be necessary?

There are many pathways to work, and it is important to make decisions based on your own strengths. In a competitive labour market, training and qualifications matter. It also helps to understand the skills you acquire through your education, training and work experience. You can use the Government’s resources like Your Career, Skills Match and Jobs Hub to identify your transferable skills and address skills gaps. These resources also identify local labour market trends and opportunities — so you know your training and qualifications will lead to ongoing work. Skills development and lifelong learning will expand your opportunities as some jobs change, new jobs emerge, and technological progress continues. For more information see

Jobs with similar skills to cafe workers include baristas, waiters, bar attendants, kitchenhands and cashiers.  Jobs with similar skills to general clerks include receptionists, admissions clerks, data entry operators and transport/despatch clerks.  Jobs with similar skills to sales assistants include motor vehicle salespersons, customer service managers and call centre operators.  Jobs with similar skills to builder's labourers include wall and floor tilers, railway track workers and freight handlers.