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Seminar to address skills shortage


Brigid Veale
12 September 2007
Skills shortages in the Tweed/Gold Coast region are beginning to bite, with over two-thirds of employers recently surveyed reporting difficulties recruiting staff.

But help for local business leaders is at hand, through an innovative industry workshop being hosted next week by Southern Cross University.

One of the country’s senior workforce analysts, Assistant Secretary of the Labour Supply and Skills Branch within the Federal Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR), Ivan Neville, will present up-to-the-minute research findings on regional labour market trends and discuss what steps employers can take to overcome training and recruitment challenges.

A DEWR research team is just finalising the results of a survey conducted across 424 Tweed/Gold Coast businesses in eight key industries – including the manufacturing, construction, retail, accommodation, hospitality, transport, property and health sectors – in which employers provided information on unfilled vacancies, the quality of applicants for their most recent vacancy and their future employment expectations.

It has found that about one-third of the Tweed/Gold Coast adult working population is approaching retirement and that 67 per cent of surveyed employers had recruited or attempted to recruit within the past year. Of those, 66 per cent reported that recruitment was difficult and 7 per cent of vacancies remained unfilled.

And the bad news is that any difficulties being experienced now are likely to worsen, with 59 per cent of recruiting employers anticipating trouble securing staff over the next year.

This will offer career opportunities for sea-changers moving into the Tweed/Gold Coast region, but also demand among mature-age workers for graduate education, according to Professor Michael Evans, Acting Executive Dean of Southern Cross University’s Faculty of Business and Law.

“These trends will impact across the whole labour market and exacerbate existing skills shortages in sales and marketing, management and accounting,” Professor Evans said.

“From the University’s perspective we expect to see high demand for graduate education programs that equip people to fill vacancies in those high-demand areas. I also expect we will see more people changing careers mid-stream as they move to jobs that are in more demand or pay more.”

The workshop will be held on Tuesday, September 18,at the Harvard Room of Southern Cross University’s Tweed Gold Coast campus, starting at 6pm. Places are limited and interested people are asked to RSVP by 14 September on 07 5506 9328.