Chapter 4 Skills of workers in today’s labour market

State of Australia’s Skills 2021: now and into the future

Chapter 4 Skills of workers in today’s labour market

A better understanding of the skills embodied in the Australian labour market will help improve the ability to match the skills of workers with the jobs available. It will help maximise the strength of the post-COVID-19 recovery. To inform this goal, this chapter shows how outputs of a new linked data set, Skills Tracker, are combined with the Australian Skills Classification (ASC) to create the first economy-wide map of the skills clusters used by employed and unemployed workers in the labour market.

This innovative analysis shows the diversity of skills clusters used across the entire labour market. Among the more specialised skills clusters the difference in usage is more pronounced. For example, employed people more frequently use higher level cognitive skills such as data analytics and databases, teaching and education and human resources, and people looking for work are far more likely to have skills involving manual labour such as cleaning and maintenance, material transport, vehicle operation and food services.

The chapter shows the importance of the ASC’s core competencies, with a similar proportion of employed and unemployed people having a high level of proficiency of ‘teamwork’ skills for their current occupation. Real-life insights into the role transferrable skills can play in improving labour market mobility also make it possible to identify occupations that may face a shortage of workers in the future (such as those with high turnover and limited similarity to other occupations).

Finally, the chapter examines the ways skilled migrants contribute to the Australian economy and supplement the supply of skilled workers available to businesses and industries. Skilled migrants tend to have high participation rates in the workforce. This means skilled migrants help stimulate economic growth and jobs growth.