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Technical and trades skills increasingly hard to source: new report

Manufacturing News

A new survey of 251 individual businesses by the Ai Group’s Centre for Education and Training (CET) has highlighted the impact of the current skills shortage, with 77 per cent of respondents reporting an increased need for technicians and trades workers, and 79 per cent having trouble finding these.

The shortage of technicians and trades workers has increased over time, with difficulty finding these jumping from 39 per cent of respondents in 2020 to 79 per cent in 2024.

“Australian businesses are telling us they are struggling to find the technical and trades skills they need, and over recent years it has become a problem for more and more companies,” said Chief Executive of the employers’ group, Innes Willox, in a statement on Monday.

“Not being able to find the right people at the right time limits the ability of businesses to meet demand, grow and innovate and this has negative consequences for our economy.”

The 2024 version of the survey, which is published every other year, took the views of companies representing a total of 291,232 FTE employees.

The scarcity wasn’t limited to technical and trades workers. Listening to Australian businesses on workforce and skills 2024 found 58 per cent of companies had difficulty finding or training staff needed for management roles and 61 per cent experiencing this difficulty in sourcing professionals.

Among other findings were that 77 per cent of companies said they would be re-skilling existing staff on the job over the next 12 months and 63 per cent said they would employ experienced people, 91 per cent planned to maintain or increase expenditure on training and development, and 37 per cent planned to increase the number of apprentices/trainees they employ in the coming year.

Picture: a competitor from the 2019 WorldSkills event (credit )

Further reading

Support for apprentices needed – Independent Tertiary Education Council

Apprentices and trainees disrupted during Covid – NCVER



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