Ai Group’s new report reveals major skill gaps

A new report released by the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) has identified critical skill issues facing Australian businesses, with 75 per cent of employers reporting skill shortages and 99 per cent impacted by low levels of literacy and numeracy.

These significant findings from the Australian Industry Group come at a time when digital technologies are increasingly disrupting workplace environments, and when education and training is being recognised as one of the most important enablers for successful, future-focused companies.

“It is clear we need new approaches to education, training and re-skilling to maximise the benefits of the digital economy. This is particularly important as employers reshape workforce capabilities and seek higher level skills, advanced technical and soft skills, digital literacy and changed management know-how,” Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox, said.

Willox highlighted the importance of policy settings and collaborations between industry and education in tackling the issue.

“Our survey has found major skills demand issues facing employers. It provides an important gauge of employer sentiment around skill needs, education and training at a critical time for industry transformation.

“Without conducive policy settings and closer collaboration between industry and education sectors to drive education and training that adapts quickly to the needs of the digital economy, Australia’s business sector will suffer competitively into the future,” Mr Willox said.

The survey identified the pressure points affecting employers to be skills shortages, literacy and numeracy, and leadership and management.

The survey showed employers are intensifying their actions to implement strategies that alleviate some of these pressures. A greater percentage of employers than previous years (52 per cent) intend to increase expenditure on training in 2018. They are recognising in the age of digitalisation all workers will need digital skills at various levels.

Employers report a significant increase in their internal company training and support from supervisors and mentors to boost literacy and numeracy skills. They have increased their engagement of apprentices/trainees and have steadily increased their links with education and training sectors – a vital strategy in the faster moving economy.

The report can be accessed here: Skilling: A National Imperative