Australia needs a larger and more qualified workforce in the 21st century as technology, globalisation and challenges make the future more competitive, according to a new report. The country already relies heavily on skilled workers from abroad in many industries and the publication of the report from the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA) suggests this will continue.
The report, Future focus, 2013 National Workforce Development Strategy, looks at how employers, workers, tertiary education institutions and governments can prepare for a future which will demand a larger and more highly qualified workforce. ‘Technology, globalisation and the challenges and opportunities of the Asian century mean our world of work is changing and Australian employers and employees need to have the qualifications and adaptive skills to make the most of these changes,’ said AWPA chair Philip Bullock.
‘Australia has experienced strong economic growth over the past two decades with the benefit of an educated and flexible workforce, but we can’t be complacent. In an increasingly competitive global environment, we need to plan ahead to make sure that we have the right people with the skills to succeed,’ he explained.
He also pointed out that the economic modelling which underpins this 2013 National Workforce Development Strategy indicates an additional 3.5 million people will be in Australia’s workforce by 2025. More of them will need to have higher qualifications, if the country is to keep pace with industry demand. Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Chris Bowen, said the aim is to boost productivity and develop a culture of innovation. ‘This strategy is an important national update on the pathway to building a better and more skilled national workforce, and aligns with this Government’s commitment to a more productive and prosperous nation,’ he explained.
‘Modelling in the report shows the demand for skills will continue to grow in the years to 2025. Highly qualified and skilled workers not only have better career prospects but are more productive employees who help businesses grow,’ he added. The updated strategy finds that there is a strong requirement for the right skills to be available at the right time and place to boost productivity and a need for individuals, enterprises and industries to use their skills to their full advantage.
APRIL 9, 2013