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Bi-Lateral Employment Initiative will positively impact skills shortages says Deloitte


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2 April 2012: Deloitte welcomed today’s announcement of a bi-lateral employment initiative to encourage skilled workers from the United States, highlighting the role it will play in meeting Australia’s current skills shortages in nominated skilled occupation areas such as engineers, surveyors, tradespeople and construction project managers.

This initiative recognises the value of encouraging targeted skilled migration as one way to meet Australia’s huge demand for workers in key growth sectors such as infrastructure and resources.  Initially explored last year in the Deloitte discussion paper, Where is your next worker? the bi-lateral employment initiative received wide ranging support across business and Government leaders.

“There is widespread recognition of the circumstances creating the shortage of specific skilled workers, observed David Rumbens, Partner, Deloitte Access Economics.  “Global demand for Australia’s mineral resources is creating an unprecedented pipeline of investment projects, with Deloitte Access Economics’ December 2011 Investment Monitor listing $406 billion of mining projects underway or in planning.

“In the most recent Deloitte Access Economics Investment Monitor we noted that engineering construction activity accounted for all of the growth in Australia’s economy during the September quarter of 2011.”

The Australian Government appears to be heeding concern about skills shortages.  Skills Australia’s 2011 Interim Report on Resources Sector Skills  projected particularly strong growth in short term project construction jobs, with up to 287,000 new workers required by 2016. The Government is also conducting a Senate enquiry  into the nexus between the demand for infrastructure delivery and the shortage of appropriate engineering and related employment skills in Australia.  

Deloitte Consulting Partner and workforce planning expert, Lisa Barry, said: “As resource and construction companies continue to compete aggressively for a shrinking talent pool, there is a real risk that some of these major projects will not be completed. This new initiative, alongside recent process improvements to the 457 visas, and the senate enquiry into engineering add to the momentum created by the Government’s investment in skills training and tertiary education in starting to address the opportunity these major infrastructure and resource projects represent.”

“Leading organisations recognise talent management strategies must take a global perspective. There is recognition that the next worker, with the relevant skills, may need to come from outside Australia if we are to meet the challenges in high-demand industries, such as mining and construction.  

“Moves such as this bi-lateral agreement, to facilitate sound workforce strategies and attract people with the right skills, will be vital for Australia’s long term future growth needs, as our potential home-grown labour force is limited by a rising gap over the next decade between retirees and young people coming into the workforce,” added Barry.

Deloitte Partner and National Immigration Leader, Mark Wright, said: “An ongoing challenge for Australia is to ensure that the targeting of specific skills is well directed. Shortages in specific skill areas are best addressed through temporary migration initiatives such as the bi-lateral employment initiative.

“In the context of today’s announcement, organisations should take the opportunity to review workforce planning strategies with a broader lens.  Some of the questions to ask are:

  • “What are we doing to tap into highly skilled workforces looking to leave more depressed markets, such as the US, UK and Ireland?
  • “What investment have we made in infrastructure and programs to support global mobility?
  • “How thoroughly have we considered which skills our business should ‘own’ and which it makes more sense to ‘rent’ or source from other organisations and/or countries?
  • “Have we reviewed the new skills-assessment process developed by DEEWR, which will essentially fast-track entry for licensed trades and allow employers to confirm skill requirements that new workers can meet?
  • “Should we be participating in the US-based Australian government-led Skills Expos planned for 2012, directly promoting employment opportunities to US workers in those skilled-work categories in demand in Australia?”

Click here to visit the full Where is your next worker? report which discusses other potential solutions to addressing Australia’s skills shortage, and which in November suggested that “more could be done to facilitate the temporary entry of highly valued prospective workers (from) the United States.”

Access the Building the Lucky Country website to find out more about Where is your next worker?

Last Updated: 

Contacts

Name:
Ben Findlay
Company:
Deloitte
Job Title:
Communications Director
Phone:
Tel: +61 2 9322 7576; Mob: 0404 157 121
Email
bfindlay@deloitte.com.au
Name:
Vessa Playfair
Company:
Deloitte Australia
Job Title:
Head of Corporate Affairs
Phone:
Tel: +61 2 9322 7576, Mobile: +61 4 1926 7676
Email
vplayfair@deloitte.com.au
Name:
Mark Wright
Company:
Deloitte
Job Title:
Partner, Global Employer Services
Phone:
Tel: +61 2 9322 7454, Mob: +61 411 220 354
Email
mawright@deloitte.com.au

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