Skills shortage threatens Australian infrastructure projects

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Skills shortage threatens Australian infrastructure projects

Australian advisory group Infrastructure Australia has said that severe skills shortages in the country could undermine public infrastructure projects.

According to Infrastructure Australia’s first Infrastructure Market Capacity report, Australia is likely to face shortages in the number of skilled individuals ranging from engineers, architects and geologists to electricians and painters.

The report found that skill shortages in Australia could lead to one in three industry jobs being unfulfilled, which is equivalent to 105,000 positions by 2023.

Moreover, there will be a shortfall of 70,000 scientists and engineers, 19,000 project managers and 28,000 trades and labour workers by 2025 in Australia, according to the report.

Jonathan Cartledge, Director of Policy and Research, said that the severe skills shortage in Australia is in danger of worsening further, with 40 per cent of the country’s workforce expected to retire in the next 15 years.

While Australia has always had to deal with skills shortages, the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem, with lockdowns disrupting training programs and border closures bringing skilled migration to Australia to a screeching halt.

With the nature of the problem posed by the pandemic, it is unlikely that there will be a quick fix to Australia’s skills shortages.

Moreover, with several years of university training needed to prepare qualified engineers, architects and geologists, the chances are bleak at best to overcome skills shortages in the country by 2023.

With such problems looming large over Australia, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has urged the government to increase its skilled migration intake in the coming years.

In its “Better Australia” strategy, the ACCI suggested that Australia should increase its skilled migration intake to 200,000 people per year.

ACCI chief executive Andrew McKellar also said that the economy was well equipped to absorb an increased skilled migrant traffic arriving in Australia.

Gary Workman, executive director of Group Training Association of Victoria, also spoke on Australia’s skills shortages during the pandemic.

He said that employer confidence needs to be built up in the new year, as the start and stop nature of Australia’s industries has made employers reluctant to hire new employees, with uncertainty over their businesses being in operation still looming large.