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Hello world and welcome to my new blog, Skilling Time.

The term ‘skills shortage’ has dominated Australia’s business landscape for a number of years.  But what does it mean for Australia during an economic downturn?  While the economic conditions may mean some companies place skills development on the backburner, once the economy recovers, the age-old issues of skills shortages will return.

A skills shortage, in plain and simple terms, means that businesses are struggling to fill vacancies.  Despite the current economic crisis, skills shortages are occurring across Australia’s economy – both in the trades and the professions.  We simply don’t have enough architects, plumbers, engineers, nurses, computer programmers, teachers and electricians to go around.

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations notes that the occupations showing the biggest increase in vacancies are medical and science technical officers (including radiologists, hospital pharmacists, sonographers and dental technicians), organisation and information professionals (such as project managers and specialists in Java, Internet Security and PeopleSoft) and accountants and auditors. But almost every industry is affected in some way, particularly in regional areas.

According to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Survey of Investor Confidence, skills shortages are the number one constraint on small and medium business investment.

In knowledge economies such as Australia, where skills are fundamental to competitiveness, skills shortages can reduce productivity and increase inflation.  As the pool of available workers dries up, salaries skyrocket and so do the prices of the associated products and services.

So, what’s the solution?  Over the next few months, Skilling Time will explore ideas and options to secure Australia’s talent base.  And I invite you to join the conversation.

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