The global skill ecosystem: Could Australia be the engine of growth?

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The digital and technological divide between employee skills and employer needs continues to grow.

When we talk of today’s skill needs, it’s in a global context.  The skills gap is of international concern, as companies struggle to find (and keep) talent.  There’s a mismatch that needs to be addressed.

Global skillsIn the Hays Global Skills Index 2016, the global recruitment leader explores a range of solutions, including:

  • Addressing skilled migration to make clear distinctions between skilled and mass immigration
  • Implementing smarter training programs to ensure businesses are future-proofed. It’s not just digital literacy, but capabilities such as problem solving, communication, and negotiation.
  • Tackling low productivity through better technology and employee engagement, like using smart devices.

The lack of automation is a worldwide challenge.  While people are eager to adopt new technologies to reduce risk and make jobs more rewarding, there’s a disconnect between what some professionals have and what they need.

The availability of skill

In a recent KPMG report, an integrated approach to education could be the solution to the skills shortage.  There’s a pressing need to develop seamless pathways for skill development through formal education, vocational education, or both.

In doing so, a dynamic and integrated educational system will be achieved, reviving the workforce at any stage to meet evolving economic realities.

Some of the current skill shortages we’re referring to include:

  • Analysts with experience, creating financial models and VBA programming
  • IT programming skills to improve and automate projects
  • The ability to use digital devices and tools
  • Understanding data and building strategies in line with corporate values
  • Engaging customers through online channels
  • Virtualisation and cloud-based software aptitude
  • SAP systems knowledge
  • Data information insights
  • Managing large amounts of data.

In the 2016 Global Trade Management Survey, joint research between KPMG International and Thomson Reuters, only 58% of people reported learning about Global Trade Management (GTM) systems in a conference, webinar, or demo – in the past 12 months.  Globally, this number is less, with only 27% in Asia.  This calls for an increased focus on global trade technology.

Underutilisation is a real issue.  A key finding of that same study shows only 30% of companies are utilising the free trade agreements available.  The complexity of rules, lengthy documentation gathering process, and lack of internal knowledge is collectively causing a roadblock.

How Australia fits into the skills puzzle  

Australia’s training providers are well-placed to meet the needs of employers in the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Latin America – according to Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training.

Key industries experiencing a skills shortage include aged care, transport and logistics, tourism, and child care.

“China, India and Indonesia are experiencing growing demand for skilled labour in construction, aged care and tourism sectors which offers significant opportunities for Australia,” Minister Birmingham said.

“As a nation, we can take advantage of the identified needs of the Chinese and Indian middle-class and their demand for service-driven skills.”

Australia has a strong international reputation for supplying many of these service-driven skills, particularly in the industries experiencing a shortage.  Currently, Australia is performing 20% above the global average in five key growth sectors: gas, education, oil, tourism, and health.  For mining and agribusiness, it’s double, at 40%.

With international student recruitment an important strategy, the opportunity for off shore capability development of employer, government, industry and institutions is the way to unlock global collaboration,

If you would like to know more about the trends in global skills and how you can position for collaboration, please contact Wendy Perry via

May 2017

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