Scarce tech and trade skills in high demand

Female tradie working on machinery. | Newsreel
Technical and trade skills are in high demand, but are hard to source. | Photo: Louise Beaumont (iStock)

More than three-quarters of Australian businesses are in need of technicians and trade workers, but cannot find or train the staff they need.

New data released by Ai Group’s Centre for Education and Training found 77 percent of businesses surveyed reported an increased need for technical and trade skills, with 79 percent saying they were having difficulty finding or training staff.

Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said Australian businesses were telling the employer organisation they were struggling to find the technical and trades skills they needed, and over recent years it had become a problem for more and more companies.

“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,” Mr Willox said.

He said the data showed that demand for Technicians and Trades workers was rising over time.

“When we surveyed businesses in 2020, 49 percent reported an increased need for Technicians and Trades skills. This rose to 69 percent in 2022 and then to 77 percent this year.

“The proportion of businesses having difficulty finding or training Technicians and Trades workers has increased from 39 percent of those surveyed in 2020.”

When asked what actions businesses planned to take to meet their skill needs over the next 12 months, 77 percent said they would be re-skilling existing staff on the job, while 63 percent said they would employ experienced people.

Mr Willox said they also planned to invest in learning and development, with 91 percent looking to maintain or increase expenditure on training and development in the next 12 months and 44 percent stating they planned to increase their expenditure this year.

Read the full report.