FACTBase Bulletin 78 The Western Australian Labour Market Insights Into Immediate Challenges

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The Committee for Perth is pleased to release their 78th FACTBase Bulletin as the first research piece for 2022.

FACTBase Bulletin 78 focuses on the challenges of accessing workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research explores the growing demand for workers for specific occupations and skill levels and investigates sources of domestic and overseas labour supply for Western Australia and Greater Perth.

This Bulletin informs our Race to the Top major research project which addresses immediate labour and skill shortages and prepare the workforce to meet industry demand over the next five years.

Key Findings

  • Western Australia (WA) and the Greater Perth region have experienced considerable growth in demand for workers since May 2020. The demand is particularly strong in some occupational groups, including technicians and trades workers, and community and personal service workers. This is evidenced by a growth in employment and the number of job advertisements, as shown by the Internet Vacancy Index.
  • Along with other States, WA has seen an increase in demand over time for workers with a certificate III qualification and above. Therefore, training the workforce to meet demand is essential to avoid future skills shortages.
  • National-level data indicate the presence of a considerable skills mismatch. Understanding how to better utilise the skills of workers will be important for meeting immediate and longer-term skill needs.
  • Between May 2020 and November 2021, there was a significant drop in net overseas migration to WA because of international and State border restrictions, arrival caps, the Australian Government’s onshore priority processing policy and travel difficulties associated with COVID-19. This has affected both temporary and permanent skilled migration to WA and the labour supply of industries that typically rely on them.
  • A return to pre-COVID-19 numbers of overseas workers in Australia and WA is unlikely without the removal of arrival caps and other impediments. Prior to the removal of international and WA border restrictions, available overseas workers to WA employers are mostly temporary visa holders who are currently in Australia. However, WA employers are also competing with employers around Australia for this pool of temporary visa holders.
  • Part-time and underemployed workers represent a potential latent workforce in the WA labour market. Reducing job search time for labour market participants with previous experience in industries and occupations with a shortage of workers will help businesses meet their immediate labour and skills needs.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Committee For Perth acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.