A 60-page report from the National Careers Institute, entitled Australian Jobs 2022 is looking at issues related to the Australian job market with an eye towards job seekers.

The issues, including how individuals find a job and what employers are looking for: including the key competencies that are offered and needed – and particularly those that help people win jobs. It also looks at emerging skills trends including future skill needs. At the very least this information might be useful for students to give them the best opportunity of finding the job they want.

Finding a job

The publication reports that 72% of jobs are advertised on recruitment or company websites. Word of mouth (29%) and social media (24%) are other relatively common sources of intelligence about available jobs. Some employers may also approach VET providers to ask if they have somebody suitable, or that they would strongly recommend.

On the other hand, only 4% are advertised in newspapers, although they do suggest keeping an eye out for jobs posted in local newspapers, especially for those who live in a regional area. Some job seekers approach employers to ask if they have any jobs open or to drop off their resume. Employers often consider these job seekers for current or future opportunities, the publication suggests, as they might be seen to have a bit of ‘get up and go’.

What employers are looking for and what skills applicants need to offer

Australia is currently in a skill shortage situation with relatively low levels of unemployment: around 3.5%. However, despite issues with finding someone to recruit, the paper suggests that, generally, employers are looking for someone with the whole package: the right educational qualifications are essential and work experience is often a pre-requisite. Also, it suggests not to forget about employability skills.

“employers may be willing to compromise on some aspects, depending on the type of job, but not on others. For example, an employer may hire someone as a Checkout Operator without any work experience but will insist on good teamwork and communication skills.”

The sector hasn’t paid enough attention to employability/generic/soft skills in our approach to VET in Australia, largely because they have been buried away and underemphasised in Training Packages in their current form. However, the publication points out that only 25% of employers think that technical skills are most important, while roughly equal proportions (37-38%) either rate the technical and personal skills as equally important or think that the personal ones are the most important.

When talking to employers about who they are looking for, however, these more generic skills and abilities are often the first things they mention. Relevant education and training are important too, but 64% of employers say they want relevant experience. If students don’t have any work experience, VET staff can help them think about other ways to they can demonstrate their transferable and generic skills. One approach is to design suitable teaching and learning experiences and then help learners recognise and reflect on their experiences and how they can talk about them to potential employers.

We have covered core and 21st Century skills often in VDC News before; people and communication skills; work ethic, attitude and motivation; problem solving; creativity; critical thinking and digital literacy. (You can find these articles on 21st Century skills by searching the archives.) This section of the publication also has useful advice that you could use or adapt to help your students.

And finally

The publication offers information on trending and emerging skills (with a special focus on social media platforms and skills), winning a job and information about the VET and higher education systems. The last sections of the publication look at recent labour market developments, including the youth labour market. It looks at jobs on a state, territory and regional basis and finally on an industry and occupational category basis (e.g. managers, professionals, technician and trade workers and community and personal service workers). This latter information looks at limited demographic information as well as listing the top three employing occupations in that industry or occupational category. That info. may be useful to some readers. Another article in this edition covers similar ground too.