Skills for the Future

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 (nationalskillscommission.gov.au/our-work/australian-skills-classification). 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 yourcareer.gov.au.

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.

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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 yourcareer.gov.au.

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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.