Employers fear growing labour shortage

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The incoming government needs to have a cohesive strategy to address the current skills and labour shortage, according to the chief executive officer of the Employers’ and Manufacturers’ Association.

Kim Campbell, EMA CEO, said 65% of respondents to their recent survey said there is, or there soon will be, a skills shortage in their sector.

“Automation and advancements in technology will certainly change the way we work; however, we will always need people,” Campbell said.

Key demographic changes like a declining birth rate and an ageing population, as well as the issue of immigration in the short- and medium-term, also have to be fed into the wider discussion, he said.

“While we must invest in educating and training our youth for the workforce, it is also vital we have a co-ordinated approach around mature workers too.”

Among the suggestions made in order to close the skills and training gap were:

· Applying more funding to fill the skills gaps in the trade sector and incorporate an employer-based approach;

· Making policies reflect lifelong career development, including a continuation of funding and support for workplace literacy programmes and a co-ordinated approach to managing an ageing workforce;

· Ensuring the immigration process is less complicated. Automatic extension of temporary work visas for sectors placed on the skills shortages list.

Current efforts of the EMA include leading a multi-organisation workstream on managing an ageing workforce, and partnering with a range of organisations on initiatives to develop workplace skills.

Such initiatives include the Youth Employability Programme, Workchoice Day and workplace literacy programmes.

Related stories:
Employers urged to support older workers
Government announces immigration changes

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