Skills shortages a major Issue for Illawarra businesses

Two out of five businesses across the Illawarra region have reported experiencing a skills shortage, according to the 2019 Workforce Skills Survey released by the NSW Business Chamber.

Released today to coincide with the start of National Skills Week, the survey has also found the state-wide workforce shortage has widened significantly, with job vacancies growing from 54,000 in 2017 to 82,000 in 2019.

Of Illawarra businesses surveyed, half indicated that the skills shortages experienced were in trade skills and 72 percent of businesses indicated that skills shortages were increasing workloads for existing staff.

Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director Adam Zarth said that the survey results highlight the need for a greater emphasis on training the next generation in order to sustain the region’s economic growth.

“This widening workforce and skills gap will hamper our economy unless action is taken to address the mismatch between the skills young people are obtaining and the skills businesses require,” said Mr Zarth.

“A key area of underperformance is in school-based apprenticeships and traineeships, where Queensland is delivering almost four times as many as NSW,”

“Locally, only 8.6 percent of Illawarra businesses reported employing a school-based apprentice or trainee, so we are calling for these to be doubled across the state each year,”

“Forty-eight percent of Illawarra businesses said that the education system was not adequately equipping young people to enter the workforce, so we are also calling for industry-based career advice for students and parents starting in year nine for all schools in NSW,” Mr Zarth said.

Key survey findings can be found at:

/Public Release. View in full here.