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Participation: Addressing the Australian skills shortage

Where is your next worker?

Participation is the share of those of working age who are willing to work. Business needs to consider greater diversity in the workforce and look for new people who want to work, including those who have retired, and women, who remain one of the largest untapped sources.

Estimates show that Australia's GDP could be increased by 13% and $180 billion if the gap between male and female participation rates was closed.2



Participation levers

To solve the looming skills shortage businesses can look closely at the share of those of working age who are willing to work to enhance growth prospects as outlined below:

  Retaining the ageing workforce for their expertise
Mature age workers are typically the most experienced and reliable employees and is a massive untapped source of productive capacity.  Retaining these wisdom workers will be increasingly important during the skills shortage.
  Increasing women’s participation in the workforce
Retaining women in the workforce could lessen the impact of Australia’s skills shortage.  While both sexes are equally represented in the workforce when careers start, women’s participation rate drops between the ages of 25 and 44, and never fully recovers.
  Sourcing talent and skills through workforce diversity
Many overlooked potential workers - including people with disabilities, Indigenous Australians and immigrants with qualifications from unfamiliar institutions - could make a major contribution to solving the looming skills shortage.
  Moving workers interstate
Finding the right person for the job often depends as much on where they live as their abilities. With workforce mobility becoming increasingly critical, better use of technology can help employers take jobs to the workers.

2. Goldman Sachs Economic research - “Weekly Comment: Productivity – Much Ado About Nothing?” 26 August 2011.

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Where is your next worker?

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Where is your next worker? addresses the positive actions business and government can take to maintain momentum in the face of a looming national skills shortage


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