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Australia – Research finds oversupply of skilled labour, shortage of managers

07 May 2013

Despite an oversupply of skilled labour in many sectors across Australia, there was a significant shortage of managers across a diverse range of industry sectors in the quarter to March, according to new research by recruitment firm Clarius Group.

This showed a shortage of 3,200 skilled managers in hospitality, retail and service managers on top of a shortfall of 2,200 skilled advertising and sales managers. Kym Quick, CEO of the Clarius Group, said this reflected a shortage of key management skills and the urgent need to build revenue streams across these sectors.

“Demand for managers is usually less sensitive to the fluctuations in the cycle of economic conditions as they tend to have high skill levels and extensive experience that employers are keen to retain,” she said.

“In advertising and sales there is a heightened need for seasoned sales managers as companies trade through tough economic conditions and try to develop revenue streams. There is also an increasing demand for skills to leverage the emerging and fast moving on-line and social media trends and technologies with new applications being launched almost on a daily basis.

The research forecasts a closer balance next year between the number of available jobs and the supply of labour in the total workforce. The gap is projected to rise from a current oversupply of 75,000 skilled job-seekers to 84,000 in December, before dropping to 54,000 in June 2014.

“These figures reflect a growing oversupply in the labour market and a softening in demand for workers. This compares to the previous December quarter 2012 where there was a smaller oversupply of 42,000 people across all job categories,” Ms Quick said.

Overall, she said, research indicates that the Australian labour market was “in balance” with an oversupply of just 6,400 skilled job seekers.

But engineering has experienced a collapse in demand, particularly in Western Australia’s mining and resources sector, driven by concerns over future growth in China. There is an oversupply of engineering professionals of 1,100 in March 2013. This compares to a shortage of 4,100 in March 2012.

While the market for ICT managers and professionals is also ‘in balance’, the sector appears to have slumped and indeed slowed faster than other parts of the economy. There is now a shortage of 100 ICT managers and an oversupply of 300 professionals in the March quarter 2013. However, the market appears to be once again gaining momentum as a limited number of private sector and government projects come online.

For accountants, auditors and company secretaries, the market has contracted from a shortage of 1,400 in the December quarter 2012 to 600 in March 2013, reflecting weaker domestic economic conditions.

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