Population: Addressing the Australian skills shortage

Where is your next worker?

As our population ages, and the number of Australians available to work falls, the next worker for many businesses may still be at university, offshore, or even outside the traditional workplace, and ‘in the crowd’.

The 168,000 skilled immigrants that arrived in Australia in 2009-10 boosted the Federal Budget bottom line by around $800 million in the first year after arrival.1

Population levers

To solve the looming skills shortage businesses can look closely at the number of people of working age or about to enter the workforce to enhance growth prospects as outlined below:

Section 1: Your next worker is still being educated   Recruiting talent early to overcome the skills gap
Recruiting graduates early in their education will help combat the looming demographic gap as the workforce ages and retires and the number of graduates in Australia decreases.  

Section 2: Your next worker is in the crowd   Crowdsourcing workforce talent and skills
Mass collaboration in our increasingly connected world creates opportunities for businesses to work outside traditional corporate and geographic boundaries and radically rethink how they access skills, including from ‘the crowd’.
Section 3: Your next worker is overseas   Offshoring to support business growth and competitiveness
Offshoring is an option for businesses to overcome the looming skills gap as Australia as a high wage, high productivity nation cannot compete with wage costs in developing countries. 
 Section 4: Your next worker is waiting for a visa   Skilled migrants can support business growth
Australia won’t be able to produce anywhere near the number of skilled workers needed in the future, and there is now a widening gap between global demand for our exports and immigrants to help meet that demand.


1. Australian Government, Department of immigration and Citizenship (April 2011), "Migrant Economic Outcomes and Contributions" p.11