Australia's skills shortages were no longer confined in the resource sector as a new report pointed to the likelihood that local firms will soon look beyond the country's shores to fill up job positions normally handled by Aussies.
The new National Salary Survey issued on Wednesday by the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) showed that seven out of 10 major Australian companies could soon recruit foreign workers to be integrated in the country's labour set-up.
The need for more skilled employees has become prominent not only in the mining sector but also in the white-collar segments of the labour sector, the AIM report said.
According to AIM research director Matt Drinan, Australian business operators are feeling the pressure of limited skills availability and "it looks like companies are going to be having certain growing pains and it's not just the mining industry."
Aside from the difficulties in looking for suitable skills in the engineering and construction segments, workers of which were usually deployed in the numerous resource projects currently underway in Australia, the report also outlined the increasing needs of many firms for sales and marketing roles.
Apparently, the local pool of talents was grossly insufficient to meet the talent requirements of many companies, a great number of them considered as key players in the domestic economy, the AIM report said.
More than 70 per cent of the 511 firms polled by AIM have expressed readiness to look for alternatives outside of Australia in light of the shortfalls in available skills that they can tap locally.
In fact, about 50 per cent of those surveyed have admitted that foreign workers were already listed on their rolls, AIM reported.
The mining sector remains the dominant field where foreign workers could soon be deployed but the data collected by AIM also defined an emerging trend in which talents coming from abroad could gradually barge into industries that before were exclusive for in-house talents.
Management slots could soon open up for non-Australian talents as senior and junior positions in the various segments chalked up shortages in double digits, highlighting the significant skill shortfalls that now affect a big chunk of the country's domestic industries.
"Our data indicates that the effects of the skills shortage is being felt across a broad range of industry sectors and job functions, nationally," Mr Drinan was reported by the Australian Associated Press (AAP) as saying in the AIJM report.
The industries-wide talent deficiencies were further heightened in 2011 as other sectors aired their concerns with skills shortages in the country, which beforehand was thought to mainly affect mining firms and other resource-related sectors, according to a separate report by global recruitment firm Hays.
"Our survey clearly shows that not only are employers across most industries continuing to register both permanent and temporary jobs, but for positions in demand skills shortages have intensified over the past year," the Hays report was quoted by News.Com.Au as saying on Wednesday.
While the skills shortages may be deemed as a serious threat to the local economy, Mr Drinan said that local firms should not overlook the possibility of extending the inherent skills of their in-house workforce by providing appropriate trainings.
"In addition to organisations casting their net beyond our shores to help meet skills shortfalls, or as an alternative to this practice, companies might be wise to look at developing existing staff to help fill skill gaps within their business," Mr Drinan suggested.
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