- Employees are looking for new opportunities through job sites and their networks
- Skilled immigration reduction has cost the Australian economy $32 billion
- Research shows that demand for digital skills creates an average wage premium of $7,700 a year
New Report from RMIT Online and Deloitte Access Economics
MELBOURNE, 8th of February 2022 — Over half of Australian workers (56%) indicated they had taken steps to change their current employment, according to a new report from RMIT Online and Deloitte. The survey shows the employees took actions such as looking on LinkedIn or Seek for job opportunities, preparing their CV or Resume, sitting an interview, or reaching out to their network about opportunities.
The "Ready, Set, Upskill - Fast track growth with digital skills" report produced by RMIT Online and Deloitte Access Economics interviewed 413 business leaders and 1,040 employees from mid-size and big companies across several Australian industries.
“It’s no secret that employers across Australia are struggling to find great people with the right skills," said Helen Souness, RMIT Online's CEO. "In some industries, such as Technology, big companies are raising salaries to attract talent and making it even harder for smaller businesses and startups to hire. We need to increase upskilling and open the borders to change this situation." RMIT Online's CEO. "In some industries, such as Technology, big companies are raising salaries to attract talent and making it even harder for smaller businesses and startups to hire. We need to increase upskilling and open the borders to change this situation."
Despite the interest of employees in moving on, employers do not expect half of their workforce will resign in 2022. One-third of companies surveyed anticipate that 6-10% of their staff will leave, and a further 24% of businesses expect 11-20% to quit.
Over half of employers surveyed (58%) found it challenging to attract new staff, identifying border closures as the most common barrier (27%). In addition, employees looking for their dream careers (26%) and having extremely high work-life balance standards (24%) created significant hurdles attracting new workers.
Businesses are betting on flexibility and training to attract potential candidates and make current staff stay put. The majority (72%) now offer flexible work arrangements and on-the-job formal training initiatives (65%), with coaching (48%) and paid leave (41%) also popular perks. Workers value this investment in training, with 77% saying it demonstrates employer interest in their career development. Most managers (82%) believe upskilling staff will be critical for business performance this year.
But despite the high importance given to training, 77% of managers say their organisations could do more to upskill staff, and 61% think they would be willing to increase investment if they expected fewer people to resign.
Big gap and wage premiums
The survey also reveals that the fall in skilled immigration since the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020 saw 380,000 fewer people enter the workforce, costing the Australian economy $32 billion. The study calculates that Australia's GDP fell by $148 billion during this period.
The research shows digital skills are becoming essential across all work areas. Analysis of job advertisements in 2021 revealed that these skills were the third most requested, behind customer service and project management and ahead of core areas like sales, budget management, and business processes. Close to two in five companies surveyed (38%) said they lacked artificial intelligence and machine learning skills. Roughly one in five companies (21%) also said their employees' digital skills are out of date.
The demand for digital skills has created a digital wage premium. The research compared the advertised salaries within occupations where they had explicitly requested digital skills to the average advertised salary more broadly to determine the digital skills premium. The analysis found that, on average, the premium was 9% or the equivalent of an additional $7,700 per worker every year.
“Upskilling will be playing a crucial role in closing the skills gaps.” Said John O’Mahony, Partner at Deloitte Access Economics. “Employers anticipate they will spend more on upskilling over the next year and employees value this investment, with many noting that it is a sign their employers want to invest in them, and they care about their development.”
For more information on the report, please visit: online.rmit.edu.au/insights/2022
About RMIT Online
RMIT Online was created by RMIT University to provide a world-class digital learning experience at the nexus of business, design and technology, leaning into future of work needs to equip students with in-demand skills and qualifications. RMIT Online teams up with industry thought leaders and experts to deliver the best in flexible education using the latest digital tools and technologies for a highly interactive, virtual cohort experience. RMIT Online is dedicated to achieving its mission of future-ready careers and creating a “community of lifelong learners, successfully navigating the world of work”.