Understanding Australian Skills Shortages

Posted on: 17.07.2012    10:58:18

Understanding the skills shortage list in any country is tricky as they tend to be compiled by the bureaucrats who have little or no knowledge of the true trade or professional skills shortages on the ground and are often out of date very quickly and Australian skills shortage list is no exception.

The skills shortages list is directed at the migrant market which wants to establish the understood skills shortages in order that they can apply for a visa and subsequently look for a job. We have said before that this is as much use as a chocolate fire-guard as what is the point in investing in a visa unless you are reasonably assured of a job. Some of the terminology used on the skills shortage list isn’t even understood by Australian professionals so what hope has an individual got of cracking the Australian immigration nut?

As an international recruitment agency we see this in many markets including our home market where we get a handful of enquiries everyday asking us how can a visa be obtained by other than European Union citizens and our response is a simple one. You’ll be pushing water uphill as UK employers avoid the visa route unless they are pushed into a corner as it is slow and expensive and highly restrictive. Put another way the politicians want to see other solutions from within the European Union such as the recruitment of Polish Workers with strong Engineering skills for example.

Also many of the genuine skills shortages in Australia do not appear on the list and many of the categories on the list are not in shortage when you ask recruiters within Australia if demand exists.

A classic example is the national shortage of chefs from Chef de Partie, Sous Chef’s through to Executive Chefs that are not on the skills shortage list but where exceptionally strong demand exists throughout Australia. We alone have 30-40 positions we could fill tomorrow for experienced chefs with a good portfolio providing they are native born English speakers or hold a qualifying IELTS score. Other agencies will tell you a similar story.

The answer is, for those looking to work in Australia is to look at where the jobs actually are. Here again you need to be on the ground in Australia to know this as they reckon only one in three jobs hit advertising or job boards as employers prefer to work below the radar with chosen suppliers who can filter out the applications to an agreed specification rather than bombarding them with poor quality CV’s and this applies around the globe.

Incidentally, all the Chefs jobs are open to all Australian chefs whether they are currently in Australia or working abroad and looking to return back home.
Other areas of strong skills shortage at present are:

  • Engineers especially automotive. Diesel mechanics and franchised dealer mechanics are really sought after but need ideally 5 years’ experience to get a 457 visa
  • Commercial Pilots with 1500 hours TT and Helicopter pilots with 1000 hours TT are in demand but often there is a skills mismatch between aeroplane type and flying hours and it is a mix and match sector calling for a little patience and effort by candidates.
  • Healthcare in general, doctors, nurses are always needed but dentists and dental technicians are in demand in all the principal cities in Australia.
  • Natural resources has constant demands but rarely work with third parties on solutions preferring to blame others, particularly the politicians for their difficulties.
  • Then there is IT, accountants and so on.

There are two ongoing problems in helping Employers and would be Employees to cover skills shortages and to realise their lifestyle dreams respectively and they both revolve around effective communication.


Author: Chris Slay

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