Skills shortages loom large as a risk to growth

by 13 Jul 2010

The global credit crunch was merely a blip on the radar compared to the severe implications of a skills shortage to Australian businesses.

Skills shortages are again looming large as a major risk for business and pose real problems for companies in terms of production and service delivery, according to a new Australian Industry Group/ Deloitte CEO survey.

The survey, Skills shortages: A high risk business, which involved more than 400 companies of all sizes, found that more than one-third (34.7 per cent) of businesses believe there is a high to extreme risk of skills shortages negatively impacting on the operation of their businesses this year. This level of concern increases to almost half of all companies (47.5 per cent) by 2015.

Regional managing partner Deloitte Consulting Asia Pacific, Gerhard Vorster, said: “The credit crunch was a mere blip compared to the chronic skills shortage that continues to restrict Australia’s growth potential.

“Despite the lack of talent, standing still is not an option. CEOs committed to driving growth need to win the race for talent or risk being overtaken by the competition.”

Ai Group chief executive, Heather Ridout, said: “While skills shortages have never totally gone away, they are set to intensify with a vengeance and are arguably the number one threat to our economic growth. While companies learnt painful lessons from past downturns and hoarded their skilled staff, the magnitude of the problem today requires new strategies and renewed effort at a whole new level.

“Of particular concern is that shortages are intensifying in occupations associated with manufacturing, construction and engineering, which are pivotal to the Australian economy. These occupations are based on skills which have a long development lead time, are in high use across the economy and whose absence puts industry at high risk.”

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