Cara Jenkin reports
EFFORTS to train up indemand workers are showing fruit, with the number of occupations with skills shortages falling in the latest Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations figures.
Fifty-three per cent now have too few skilled staff compared to 57 per cent in 2010 and 75 per cent in 2007.
DEEWR’S latest national skill shortages report finds employers filled 62 per cent of their vacancies in 2011, up from 61 per cent in 2010, with 1.7 suitable applicants for eachvacancy, also up from 1.6 in 2010. But one in two occupations still has a skills shortage and 40 per cent of job vacancies go unfilled.
In specific occupations the skills shortage is acute, including among engineers, resource industry professionals, child-care workers, health therapy staff, nurses, automotive trades, some engineering and electrotechnology trades and food trades. Automotive trades workers are the most difficult to recruit, with 43 per cent of vacancies filled and 0.9 suitable applicants for each vacancy. They are followed by food trades and engineering associates – less than 60 per cent of their vacancies were filled. Michael Tozer (pictured on cover), a 29-year-old spraypainter, says he has been in the industry for a decade. ‘‘I started off in the mechanical industry but preferred doing smash repairs,’’ he says. ‘‘There is a shortage of spraypainters because people don’t have the drive to get the job done and better themselves. It’s a high pressure job so maybe that’s why there is not as many people in the job.’’ Workers in SA are encouraged to look at training to get in-demand skills, with shortages only expected to worsen, mostly because mining is forecast to expand sig-