Manufacturing industry in hiring mode due to skills shortage

The manufacturing industry is facing exciting growth, with the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) recording the 21st month of continuous expansion in June – the longest run of consecutive expanding conditions since 2005.

This boom is, in part, due to the increase in automated and technologically advanced manufacturing models, which significantly improves production rates and increases scalability. What this rapid growth brings with it however, is a significant skills shortage, with more specialised and diverse skills being sought after to negotiate the advancing world of Australian manufacturing.

The skills challenge

According to a 2019 report by the Australian Industry Group, 21% of manufacturing CEOs nominated ‘skill shortages’ as their top concern for 2019, up from 16% in 2018. This concern has been rising steadily since 2013, reflecting an increasing focus on business capabilities, workforce development, and innovation in the areas of automation and digitalisation.

In an industry where advanced technologies and automation are becoming increasingly significant and integral in workplaces, computer skills, programming, digital skills, working with technology, and critical thinking are all becoming important components required by employees.

According by a report prepared by Centre for Future Work, one of the major factors contributing to this skills shortage is this increasing complexity and breadth of required skills. According to co-author of the report, Jim Stanford, the overall trend within manufacturing towards a more sophisticated and technology-intensive manufacturing models “means that there are not only new and more complicated skills that have to be learned, but the greater challenge is the comprehensive and multi- dimensional nature of the package of skills employers need.”

The same report stipulates that there has also been a significant educational and training gap in the VET system, which has seen a failure to provide a steady flow of skilled workers, possessing the modern and flexible qualifications that are necessary to work with the increasingly specialised, advanced manufacturing business models.

An industry in hiring mode

While growth is placing pressure on employees to find skilled people, this need for professionals with experience in the areas of automation and advancing technology spells good news for job seekers.

As it stands, manufacturing accounts for 6.8% of all employment in Australia and is the country’s seventh largest employing industry. Despite the skills shortage, it remains one of Australia’s largest full-time employing industries, and total industry employment increased by almost 50,000 positions in the year ending in May 2018, making manufacturing one of the largest sources of new jobs in the entire economy. Essentially, the demand for skilled professionals in manufacturing means that the industry is in hiring mode.

For this reason, the potential for new job opportunities is high, particularly if you possess the specialised and technology-centred skills that employers are struggling to find. For those who are yet to acquire such skills, a willingness to continue their professional development, be adaptable and embrace soft-skills, such as critical thinking and communication, will be important in securing such roles.

If you are looking for a job in manufacturing, contact Baytech and speak with one of our specialised Consultants.