Australia's career information & exploration service

The Australian Government defines skill shortages as follows:

A skill shortage exists when employers can't fill vacancies in an occupation or in a specialisation of that occupation. For this definition to hold true, the vacancies must reflect current levels of pay and standard employment conditions and must exist in a geographical location that is reasonably easy to access.

Why do skill shortages occur?

Skill shortages can occur for a variety of reasons.

  • Cyclical economic shifts
    Australia is increasingly exposed to fluctuations in the global economy. As a result, the number of job openings shifts up or down.

  • Regional mismatches
    Skilled personnel may be in short supply in a particular region.

  • Training levels
    There may be a low number of qualified workers with specialised skills.

  • Labour market restructuring
    The introduction of new technology, or changes to the structure of the economy can lead to rapid changes in the demand for an occupation, creating a sudden oversupply or shortfall of qualified people.

While demand for particular skills is useful to take into account, it is necessary to understand that the labour market can change quickly. If you decide to complete training or education, the skills in shortage today may not be in shortage when you have completed your course and are ready to look for a job.

Also, a skill shortage does not guarantee you a job in an occupation. Shortages that exist are sometimes in occupations or specialisations that require a mix of specific skills and experience.

If you're preparing to change career direction, you will benefit from including all relevant issues into your decision making, such as interests, skills, values, work preferences, and education and training requirements.

What are the current skill shortages?

The following sources provide information on skill shortages and Australia's labour market.

  • The Labour Market Information Portal provides detailed information about industry employment trends and industry prospects, as well as information about Australia's labour market.

  • The Australian Government Department of Employment undertakes research to identify skill shortages in the Australian labour market.
Back to top

Quick tools