Commonwealth predicts a Million New Jobs
The Commonwealth Department of Employment released the Employment projections report 2016 (11 pages). The Report takes us through to 2020projects most new jobs created between now and 2020 will require tertiary qualifications. Of the one million new jobs projected, almost half will require certificate or diploma level qualifications.  

It’s expected that in the five years to November 2020 total employment will increase by 989,700 jobs – a million positions in round numbers. That equates to jobs growth of about 1.6 per cent each year across Australia. But job mix and availability will vary widely across the country. There are some crucial details in that number that bear close reading by VET practitioners.

Tertiary qualifications are essential in a changing labour market

Acquiring a tertiary qualification is fundamentally important. The opportunities for people who have only completed secondary school are continuing their decline. They will have access to only 69,000 of those 1,000,000 new jobs. Completing secondary school is no longer enough to get a firm foothold in the labour market. Employment for labourers is expected to fall by 14,600 positions over the next five years.

We are in different times and the challenge is before tertiary education providers to work with both traditional and non-traditional learners as never before. A million individual futures depend on education and training that is contemporary and high quality. There is no fall-back position. Given the growing significance of tertiary education, it’s not surprising that the tertiary education sector itself shows up at number 11 in the list of 15 industry sectors expected to grow most rapidly between now and 2020.

Of a million projected jobs, around 437,800 will require certificate or diploma level qualifications, and another 482,900 will require bachelor degrees or higher. The linkages between qualifications and providers will become even more important if we are to secure strong social and economic outcomes. Our notions of job readiness will need to be more nuanced. Pathways will be critical, including pathways that operate down the AQF hierarchy as well up the hierarchy – degree to certificate pathways will be as necessary as certificate to degree pathways.

Where the new jobs will be

The location of new jobs is not consistent across the nation. While jobs growth in New South Wales is expected to run at 9.8 per cent to 2020 (a total of 368,200 jobs), in both South Australia and Tasmania the growth is about half that rate, at 5.1 per cent in each state. It’s interesting to note that the Northern Territory, with about 1 per cent of Australia’s total population spread over an enormous geographical area, is expected to see to see a jobs growth rate of 7.4 per cent.

The report includes a map that breaks down projected employment growth by region (page 10). According to the Department’s projections:

Employment is projected to increase in all but one of the ABS SA4 Regions over the five years to November 2020 with only South Australia – Outback projected to decline. Employment in metropolitan areas is projected to increase by 9.5 per cent over the period, compared with 5.8 per cent projected for regional Australia.

The single biggest projected increases in employment are for inner Melbourne (48,400 jobs) and the Gold Coast (35,700).

Two occupational groups will account for more than half all new jobs

In occupation terms, the report notes that:

Consistent with structural shift toward the service industries, very strong employment growth is projected to continue for Professionals (up by 396,400 or 14.5 per cent) and Community and Personal Service Workers (231,600 or 19.0 per cent). Together, these two occupational groups are expected to account for well over half of the total growth in employment over the next five years.

Indeed, increase are anticipated in all but one of eight major occupational groups – as mentioned earlier, only labourers are anticipated to decline in numbers.

The report lists the 15 occupations that are expected to top the growth list. Sales assistants head the list with 64,800 positions, followed by registered nurses (51,400), aged and disabled carers (43,000) and child carers (39,000). Accountants and electricians weigh in at numbers 6 and 7.

The Department has also issued Industry employment projections out to 2020 (4 pages).