Australia’s Employment Projections for the Next Decade That Can Shape Your Skilled Migration Plans

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australia's employment projections for the next decade

Before considering your migration to Australia, it is highly important for you to understand how the job market in each specific region works, i.e., the current and projected trends of most in-demand occupations, the governmental and infrastructural characteristics of the region that shape up these trends and patterns, demands and shortfall, the favourable and unfavourable disparities as well as the growth and direction of each occupational sector.

Through this article we will try to give you a road map of Australia’s specific occupational sectors and consider the real scenario (with actual numbers and percentages) in terms of

  • Industry megatrends that are driving the Australian economy forward
  • Specific occupation demands measured via total job advertisements
  • Occupations with a shortage of workers (increasing, falling and net zero change)
  • Occupations with high and low fill rate
  • Skill sectors that are in tandem with growing industries in Australia
  • State and territory wise occupational shortages
  • Specific occupations that are to be allocated increasing yearly migration quotas based on the rising demand and industry evolution

What industry megatrends will control the fate and future of Australia?

  • Digitalisation (accompanied by automation and artificial intelligence)
  • Clean & Green Energy (aiming for net zero greenhouse footprint)
  • Healthcare & Social assistance

The trifecta of Australia’s grand socio-economic agenda will unquestionably rely on a skilled workforce, Australian-born and migrants.

Digitalization

 Occupations that demand digital expertise, data skills and programming have the highest growth projections leading up to 2028. A high level of expertise in digital skills has a market potential for 11.4% growth, which is roughly twice that of occupations that require mid level and entry level expertise and digital engagement.

To break down further, industry analysis projects a 12.5% growth in the range of specialised and somewhat novel professions related to the field of ICT, software and programming where the professionals will be required to spend at least 50% of their time mastering data and software skills.

Following is a comparative level of demands based on job listings for strictly ICT jobs as well as other occupations that require some form of digital skills for 2022.

top ten occupation in australia requesting digital and data skills in 2022

Parallelly, automation and Generative AI will infiltrate every sector, where automation will in fact be achieved by embedding deep learning AI models that can replicate and even innovate the processes.

Generative AI will turn out to be a huge complementing co-pilot tool for coders and programmers.

While the potential of Generative AI to challenge and replace high-skilled and non-routine roles remains debated, it does however show a tendency to widen the scope of existing automated processes across sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, safety services etc.

Clean & Green Energy

The target is straight-forward, net zero greenhouse gases by 2050.

According to a study by Jobs & Skills Australia titled ‘A Clean Energy Workforce Capacity’, Australia is planning to achieve this in two stages, the first being a 43% reduction of emissions by 2030 before closing in on net zero in the following 20 years.

38 major occupations have been identified that will help Australia shift its focus from fossil fuels to renewable and zero emission sources of energy. These occupations will be concerned with the process of designing, developing and construction of green energy infrastructures.

The clean energy transition will depend heavily upon Australia’s higher education as well as migrant professionals in technical sectors across the board.

Healthcare & Social Assistance

The Healthcare and support industry out-scales the digitisation initiatives as well as the green energy plans, at least in terms of sheer employability power.

Leading up to 2033, more than 530,000 new people will be employed in this sector, that is on average 53,000 new employment a year. This will lead to a growth of 25% employment in this industry.

Looking at the bigger picture, the healthcare industry already dominates the market share of total employed people by 15.2% in 2023, and the projected growth in employment will increase its market share by nearly 17% overall.

Therapists, physiotherapists, podiatrist and similar occupations will be the beneficiaries of this employment growth.

Social assistance, the other industry not too far away from healthcare, rather overlapping in many areas such as paediatric education and care, residential aged care, autism and related care, has already shown a 3-fold growth over the past 5 years leading up to 2023.

This sector will boom its employment by 22%, that is 145,000 new workers by 2023. Aspiring personal care and nursing support professionals have all the reasons to be optimistic as per the critical data in the report by Jobs and Skills Australia.

Not to be lost in translation, even though strictly healthcare occupations will employ significantly more people than the digitalisation and clean energy sector, the report has been very descriptive in outlining how digitisation initiatives in particular will become deeply embedded into the healthcare sector, and therefore will offer overlapping employment.

Major occupational groups with a shortage of workers

  • Professional Occupations
  • Technician and Trades Worker occupations
  • Community and Personal Service Worker Occupations

While the total number of occupations in Australia’s priority list is gradually reaching a thousand (currently 916) with the addition of more occupations every year, there are 332 occupations to be exact that show the maximum shortage of workers. These 332 occupations in constant shortage make up 36% of the entire list, and to put in appropriate context, these 332 occupations are basically sub-occupations that can be found under 3 major occupational groups above.

For simplicity, the following figure shows how the proportion of total number of distinct occupations facing a shortage of workers have increased over 3 years. The following has been sourced from the annual report title ‘Skills and Priority List 2023’.

proportion of occupations in shortage in skills priority list in 2021, 2022 and 2023, Australia

Simply for context, the  ILO (International Labour Organisation) applies a classification structure known as the ISCO (International Standard Classification of Occupations) to categorise all occupations in the world under 10 major groups. As per the classification, the 10 major occupational groups are

  • Managers
  • Professional
  • Technicians and associate professionals
  • Clerical support workers
  • Service and sales workers
  • Skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers
  • Craft related trades workers
  • Plant and machine operators, and assemblers
  • Elementary occupations
  • Armed forces occupations

As discussed, in the context of Australia’s workforce, the 3 major occupations that showed the highest shortage of workers were professionals, technicians and service workers, followed by managers and agricultural workers among the consistent sectors, while sales showed a shortage since 2021 consistently.

Professionals

To simplify, the 6 categories in the figure above are actually sub-occupational groups, which are actually made up of roughly 55 different occupations.

Almost every distinct occupation where healthcare professionals are needed showed a huge 82% shortage or unavailability of such qualified professionals on average.

This is no surprise considering that the fill rate for healthcare professionals (percentage of qualified professionals turning up to fill vacancies) has gradually fallen from 61% to 52% to 41% through the years 2021, 2022 & 2024.

Eventually these professionals keep switching roles within the field of healthcare, which results in only 20% health occupation roles being effectively filled by the same individuals for the long run.

A similar pattern echoes within the ICT sector where roughly 70% of all ICT professions are reportedly facing a shortage of skilled professionals. This has led to a  sheer desperation and urgency for Australia to heavily focus on bringing migrant professionals leading up to 2023 as per the report.

Engineering, Design, Transport are sub-sectors that are made up of a wide number of distinct occupations as well. Roughly half (54%) of all the distinct occupations that can be categorised under these sectors are facing worker shortages.

Human resources and marketing professionals deserve to be highlighted in the lower end of the shortages as these two professionals are being accepted at a very high rate through Australia’s skilled migration program in order to cope with shortage.

Bottomline

Healthcare, ICT, Engineering, Design, Transport, Human Resource & Marketing Professionals will be pulled into Australia by massive numbers via skilled migration programs leading up to 2030.

Technician and Trades Worker occupations

If we take all the occupations under this major occupation group, then we’ll find that more than half of these total occupations are in shortage since 2021.

According to the Jobs & Skills report

  • nearly all occupations relation to Food Trade are facing workers shortages
  • Construction Trade work also faces workers shortage in every occupation related to it
  • 80% of occupations that require ‘Automotive & Engineering Trade workers’ are in shortage of skilled people
  • Electrotechnology & Telecommunication occupations are all facing similar shortages (73%) as automotive and engineering

To simplify, this suggests that for every 100 occupations related to the Automotive & Engineering Trade as well as the Electrotechnology & Telecommunication Trade, at least 70-80 occupations are facing shortage of workers, while every single occupation related to Food and Construction trade are in shortage all throughout.

Non-construction trade occupations such as Chef, Motor Mechanic (General), Fitter (General), Hairdresser and Metal Fabricator are increasingly in high demand due to the continuous lack of reliable workers.

That’s a huge opportunity for migrant professionals in these sectors such as Australia admittedly has no choice but to rely on its skilled migration program as a means of recruitment.

Bottomline

ALL Automotive & Engineering Trade workers, Electrotechnology & Telecommunication Trade, Food Trade, Construction Trade and specifically Chef, Motor Mechanic (General), Fitter (General), Hairdresser and Metal Fabricator have maximum chances for employment.

Community Service Workers

The community service sector had one-fifth (20%) of all its occupations under worker shortage in 2022, and in just 1 year, the shortage currently prevails across nearly one-fifth (24%) of occupations.

Aged and Disabled Carers, Personal Care Assistants and Child Care Workers have been in consistent scarcity throughout 2021 to 2023 across relevant occupations in these category.

 

While the 3 major occupation groups mentioned above have seen maximum scarcity of workers as of 2023, let’s take a look at the comparative levels of employments of the remaining major groups currently.

A deeper analysis reveals the relative percentages of current employment share between all major occupations, at the same, the percentage change in employment growth over the period of the next decade.

 

So far, we have only discussed the occupational areas in broader context that are in shortage. However, you might want to know the exact names of these occupations that are reportedly in need of professionals. We’ll let you know the specific occupations and the exact percentage of shortages.

However, before you read any further, you must consider these 2 questions.

  • What professionals are currently most in-demand in Australia?
  • What are the occupations of the future?

 If you’re trying to understand the Australian work economy to help you make your skilled migration decision, you might have two different approaches.

The first approach seems more convenient to some people who want to find work as soon as they land in Australia in order to have a hassle-free PR pathway. If you are one of them, you will consider the first question.

On the other side, we have the marathon runners, who want to bet on the future possibilities and want to pursue occupations of the next decade for a secured future. The second question is far more relevant to them.

But how do we answer these two questions?

We look into the already collected data on shortage of workers for each occupation to answer the first question, i.e., the most in-demand occupations right now.

To learn about the most in-demand occupation in the next 10 years, industry specific trends have guided the report into creating a diverse list of employment projections for 2033.

Here is a list of 20 largest employing occupations currently facing shortage of workers taken straight from the report

20 largest employing occupations in Australia

As per the report, the newest largest employing occupations that entered the list in 2023

  • Sales & Marketing Manager
  • Waiter
  • Solicitor
  • Taxation Accountant
  • Biomedical Engineer

Top 20 Skill Sectors of the future; most in-demand and comparative employments by percentage of employment market share

 

How is the job market looking in your industry?

Healthcare dominates growth projections with 25% employment growth as stated earlier. Education and training grow by 13%, while arts and recreational services grow by a decent 11%.

If you’re in mining, manufacturing, transport, construction, you can expect to ride the wave of employment growth in the range of 12-18%.

Rental & real estate, accommodation and food services occupations have 12-15% job growth.

Retail & Public administration may seem to have a low growth overall, but thrives in particular states (detailed under state specific industry growth)

Professional & Technical occupations, as well as Financial & Insurance occupations offer 13-17% job growth.

Which Australian States have the fastest growing industries and how is the employment outlook?

Victoria is set to become the largest employer overall (578,300 people) with a 16% growth in employment, leading NSW (13% growth; 562,200 people employed), and Queensland (14%; 394,900 people). The other states fare much lower in numbers, simply due to the respective population disparities.

However, these are the overall growth of employment specific to each state and it does not specify the growth for different industries.

Industry specific employment growths particular to each state provides a comprehensive picture.

If we rank starting with the largest employment providers, then the Health Care & Social Assistance sector is set to offer maximum employment leading up to 2033 in every state and territory of Australia, except for ACT and Northern Territory.

That is roughly 15% of the entire Australian working population. Healthcare is also projected to grow at the highest rate leading up to 2033 compared to any other industry, that is at a staggering rate of 20%.

So, what are the top sectors in ACT and Northern Territory?

Public administration & Safety will employ one-fourth (25.3%) of the entire working population in ACT, which not only is set to be the largest sector in ACT but by far the highest state-wise percentage employment.

ACT is also projected to be the go-to state for all occupations related to the Professional, Scientific & Technical services industry and will employ 10% of the working population. This industry will equally serve roughly 10% of the working population of New South Wales as well as Victoria.

In the Northern Territory, Public administration & Safety will open its doors to 14.2% of the working population, becoming the territory’s 2nd largest employment industry. That is next only to the mining sector which will keep 24.4% of NT’s working population on a payroll.

Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia

Construction & mining professionals are most likely to find their homes in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. This is in light of the projections that the construction industry alone will be filled with roughly 8-9% of the working population of these states, even when it is kept strictly separated from mining projects. More specifically, it is the 2nd largest employer in QLD, while the 3rd largest in VIC, SA and WA.

Mining industry on the other hand, even when kept separate from construction activities, will keep 23% of the WA working population on a payroll as its 2nd largest employer. The same will be true for the 21.4% of the working population of South Australia.

In fact, mining is also the 2nd largest industry for Australia overall, set to employ 11% of the country’s entire working population.

Manufacturing is set to experience significant growth in the next 10 years leading up to 2033 in New South Wales (17.4% increase), Queensland (15.3% increase), Victoria (16.8% increase), and Western Australia (16.6% increase). In these regions, Manufacturing is expected to become the 3rd largest growing industry in NSW and Queensland, while in Victoria and WA, it ranks as the 4th largest growing industry. Overall, by 2033, Manufacturing is anticipated to employ over 5% of the workforce across all these areas.

Let’s finally take a look at the 1-year overalls in Australia’s work economy from May 2022 – May 2023.

Unemployment rate is still consistently at an all time low at 3.5%, which is also the lowest worldwide.

Factors that are coherent with such an amazing accomplishment are:

  • 68% all time high participation rate – it reflects that a huge proportion of working age population are actively working or seeking work, meaning that very small percentage of the working age population has the tendency to remain idle or purposely avoid work, hence it results in maximum employment.
  • Tight labour market conditions, basically indicating a highly competitive workforce, hence, a highly motivated one when it comes to remaining employed at all costs.
  • Construction, Healthcare and Arts & Recreation had seen the maximum growth in employment just over the course of a year; i.e., 9.3%, 7% and 5.9% increase respectively.
  • Employment of the younger demographic has been record high, a reflection of the consistent efforts of Australia’s government and private sectors utilising workers who are fresh out of higher university education, VET (Vocational Education and Training) and young migrant professionals.
  • Women have been levelling up their academic and professional credentials and find themselves greatly rewarded with a record high level of employment as well.

While all these factors have come together to boost the overall work economy of Australia, we believe that we still owe it to our potential migrant professionals to inform them about the specific areas where shortage of workers prevail and therefore have a very high demand for particular skills. Areas like healthcare, technology, and community services currently face shortages which may allow for our future migrants to rethink and reshape their current academic path. Furthermore, Australia’s goals in digitalization, clean energy, and healthcare also depend on a heavily saturated skilled workforce, which will consist of an increasing percentage of migrants only in the next decade. We believe we can help our potential migrants assess their chances better and provide them guidance with their migration pathways with greater success rates.


Bridging West is a leading Australian Registered Migration Agency that has helped thousands of people migrate to Australia in the last 17 years. If you want to check your eligibility for any Australian visa, please fill up this form.We will get back to you as soon as possible.

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