WA facing 150,000 workers shortfall

A substantial fall in the state's unemployment rate to 5 per cent has sparked concern that WA is not ready for the next wave of growth, with a business lobby group projecting a shortfall of 150,000 workers within seven years.


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West Perth
Why don't we train asylum seeking refugees with skills to fill areas in the economy where there is a shortage? Wouldn't this be cheaper then detaining them or sending them back overseas and possibly to their death? Simple solution to a complex problem.

The CCI approach fails to adequately address the issue of what to do about utilising existing talent. It is too easy to resort to calls for Government to support immigration to address shortages. We seem to adhere to the same formula: boom means import resources. We already have a large talent pool of university graduates available and if we applied some innovation to how they were to become more productive, then we might address some of the claimed shortages. It seems to me to be a complete waste to ask Government to subsidise external resourcing when we could use that same funding to develop talent sharing arrangements across business, build university to work transition programs and establish effective work experience programs. Some businesses have claimed that the Universities are not producing job-ready graduates: perhaps we should be establishing better partnerships across government, business and universities to develop some worthwhile initiatives which will allow our existing talent to be used before we go running off to get it from elsewhere. Ron Jones createhr Nedlands

I absolutely support Ron Jones' comments and would add some thoughts of my own, albiet the paper below was written a couple of years ago in a very different employment market as attention again returns to an impending skills shortage it once again has currency. Attacking the Skill s Shortage Now by Stretching the Demographic – A New Approach The “Skills Shortage” and the lack of appropriately trained people is often cited as one of Australia’s greatest challenges in ensuring continued economic growth and indeed some of our biggest opportunities are likely to be significantly delayed, if not cancelled, unless something radical is done. In previous times (and it is repeated frequently today) immigration is posed as a panacea for our skills crisis. However with globalization, the concentration of ownership of resources and the rise multinational companies there are opportunities available elsewhere too. If a company cannot align all of the necessaries for a project’s commencement including human capital they will and indeed must look for other opportunities. Many companies have expressed a view (most privately) that they would eagerly employ more people, no big news there. However having an acute understanding of the skills shortage they would still take on more untrained staff if only they had extra competent supervision/mentor capacity within their organization. And there’s the issue for them. As they are just too busy doing what they do they cannot release their own in-house talent to spend the necessary time to up-skill new recruits. To use a military analogy when an army has not the time or capability to train its own recruits they either suffer a severe loss of capability in the medium to longer term or must hire mercenaries to maintain the numbers and apparent capacity. The mercenaries of course by have had different training and do not exhibit the same loyalty as home-grown soldiers. Industry differs little. So what can be done? The obvious answer is that whole range of policies must be put in place and we’ve much of that from our political masters of late. Even so little can have an immediate impact. It is not a new or original thought to suggest that recent or impending “traditional” retirees are a natural pool of talent. They have the knowledge and experience and may have an interest in “giving a little” back to the industry/company in which they have spent many productive and successful years. Many will have both a broad and deep understanding of what is required and possibly an affinity with those entering positions similar to their own entry level many years earlier. Of course most ‘traditional’ retirees will want to travel, spend more time with their favourite pursuit or just relaxing for a while and fair enough too. However as the novelty of retirement wears thin ( for either them as individuals or for their partners) many would like to continue to contribute albeit in a timely manner under their control. Increasingly they will value and possibly need additional income. To help facilitate the “drafting” of more retirees back into the market I propose a new qualifications regime. Or perhaps “qualifications” is the wrong word. These people already have the qualifications to mentor and supervise inexperienced people. What we need is an “accolades” regime supported by a skills recognitions programme and most likely administered from industry to industry by the recognized industry bodies. Imagine anyone who has spent twenty, thirty or even forty years in an industry and achieved appropriate levels of success, why shouldn’t they receive recognition from society, why shouldn’t they receive a “Degree of Mentoring?” We know our society awards degrees to generally younger people for learning and learning to learn some of what is needed later on in their careers. I was one of them but candidly it was only after I had left University that I truly began to learn my profession. Formal recognition through government approval, being industry driven and the resultant awarding of Degrees of Mentoring will recognize prior contribution, establish a standard for mentoring and will translate into an accolade desired by most professional and skilled people. Even if the don’t use it they certainly deserve it. It just may form the foundation for commercial “exchanges” in the provision of pools of talent willing to provide quality mentoring and supervision on an ad hoc basis, with their availability being under their control and their and the freedom to pick and choose with whom they work and in what capacity. These people are valuable and will be performing real service and will need to be appropriately rewarded for their efforts. Website “exchanges” could be established as clearing houses and operate in much the same way as those from whom we purchase our theatre, movie or concert tickets. Industry bodies can run the issuing of “degrees” (being best placed to ensure that people have had the relevant experience, seniority and probity) with companies perhaps paying the costs as farewell presents and/or subsidized by either government or industry. I envisage that this concept will have a broad society-wide application but that a pilot scheme should be initiated by Federal Government ( I say Government because they have the power to mandate the granting of degrees and other qualifications ) with a particular industry ( say Mining or Oil & Gas ) leading the charge and coordinating the efforts of industry bodies and encouraging commercial enterprises to establish the infrastructure. Recruitment firms with large databases and thus knowledge of impending and recent retirees would be the natural commercial enterprises to establish the website exchanges but there will be no barriers to entry with the choice of which exchange to use being left to the individual. First-mover advantage of course will be a major commercial imperative. I believe the result will see valuable human assets retained or remaining available to industry and indeed all workplaces, that participants will have a formal recognition of their contribution to their industry and that this recognition will be useful, valuable and public and mandated by the Federal Government. The overriding impacts will be a stretching of the demographic available to industry, part alleviating the skills shortage of itself and the additional training of unskilled people so that each organization’s talent pool grows ensuring that they are more able to meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities. Our society will be the winner but only if we have the will to something new and radical.

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