Business and TAFE spin skills shortages

No labour shortage, no skills shortage

As an Adelaide resume writer, I have strong and evidence based research on the labour market, so it’s gratifying to have someone in a senior research position agree with me.

Professor John Buchanan, a labour economist at the University of Sydney, said the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures on unemployment and underemployment showed there was “no absolute shortage of labour”, though sometimes people needed training on the job.

Buchanan said for decades employers had engaged in “labour market filleting” – referring to the best cut of steak – by employing the prime workforce of fit, healthy people in their late 20s and early 30s. They also hired cheap overseas labour instead of older workers.

Brendan Coates, economic policy program director at the Grattan Institute, said the term ‘skill shortages’ was overused.

“We should be fairly sceptical of claims of skills shortages because many are based on asking employers ‘can you find workers at the prevailing wage that you’re offering the staff?’,” he said.

“The obvious answer is wages need to rise in order to attract workers from other sectors.”

The business and training sectors beat-up the so-called ‘skills shortage’ because it’s in their best interests to do so.

The other reason employers say there are skills shortages was until recently, job seekers had to apply for 20 jobs a month to get the dole.

Employers were bombarded with applications for positions from people who had few, if any of the skills required.

Employers falsely thought there was a skills crisis.

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