Manufacturing News

Survey finds skill shortages affecting company performance

RESULTS from the first Australian Industry Group-Deloitte National CEO survey released this week highlight the integral role skills play in lifting innovation and driving business success.

The study estimates that as many as a quarter of a million full-time employees are needed to satisfy current skill needs and finds that current skill shortages are severely impeding Australia’s innovation performance.

Ai Group Chief Executive, Heather Ridout, said the findings in the Australian Industry Group-Deloitte report, Skilling for Innovation, provide important insights into the impact skill shortages are having on business innovation in Australia

“A severe shortage in skilled staff threatens to undermine local efforts to boost innovation. Almost 70% of the firms surveyed in the study claimed skill shortages had impacted on their business over the past year.

Worryingly, 60% of these firms found that these skill shortages were restricting their ability to be innovative.

“Australian businesses are extremely aware of the importance of skills to innovation. In fact, the report shows that nearly two-thirds of Australian companies use upskilling of employees as a specific strategy to increase innovation in their business.

“The study found that a majority of Australian companies have adopted business management practices, such as a culture of information sharing; incentives policies; and measures to capture employee knowledge, using these as a lever for innovation.

“The CEO survey points to the need for the Federal Government’s review of the National Innovation System to consider arrangements specifically directed towards lifting the skills and capabilities required to drive innovation in Australian businesses”, Mrs Ridout said.

Giam Swiegers the CEO of Deloitte said that “Deloitte Australia’s investment in a national innovation framework and program has transformed our firm, creating a culture of innovation, which acts as a magnet for talent and business.

“The program covers the entire innovation process — from capturing an idea in an interactive online tool, ‘The Innovation Zone’, to create a collaborative culture in the pursuit of breakthrough ideas, to the successful launch of disruptive and market-making innovations,” Swiegers said.

The results in the study Skilling for Innovation are based on the responses of almost 500 Australian CEOs in the manufacturing, services and construction sectors, with total employees of nearly 100,000 and sales revenue of around $35.0 billion.

The report is the first in a series of joint Australian Industry Group-Deloitte quarterly surveys which will explore the views of Australian CEOs on major economic and policy issues.

“We look forward to the new partnership with Deloitte delivering a productive series of reports which will inform the policy debate and provide government with feedback at the highest level from business,” Heather Ridout said.

A copy of the report is available on the Ai Group web site at and Deloitte’s website

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