Nurses top the list of most in-demand occupations

Nurses are the most in-demand occupation in Australia.

Nurses are the most in-demand occupation in Australia. Photo: ABC News/Nic MacBean

Australia’s skills shortage shows no signs of improving as the latest job reports point to gaps in industries as diverse as medical, retail and IT.

New quarterly data in the Labour Market Update from Jobs and Skills Australia has revealed the 20 most sought-after occupations – with nurses, software programers and aged-care workers topping the list.

Aged and disabled carers, child carers and construction managers round out the top five.

The Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor, said the report showed the importance of further education in plugging the skills shortage.

“The present skills gap in many parts of the labour market remains a big economic challenge, and the domestic skills system is playing an important role in responding to this challenge,” he said.

It comes as the federal government widens its list of subsidised apprenticeships.

An extra 39 occupations were added to the Australian Apprenticeships Priority List in January. It takes the total number of occupations eligible for financial support through the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System to 111.

Skills shortage

Vet nurses are among the new occupations listed in the Australian Apprenticeships Priority List.

Businesses receive a wage subsidy of 10 per cent in the first and second years, before it drops to 5 per cent in the third year. Apprentices can receive up to $5000 within two years.

Occupations added to the Australian Apprenticeships Priority List include swimming instructors, veterinary nurses, youth workers, building inspectors, dental technicians, tour guides and tree workers.

Businesses have been feeling the strain of skill shortages for months, the executive director at the Ai Group Centre for Education and Training, Megan Lilly, said.

“Ongoing skill shortages continue to create difficulties for employers,” Lilly said.

“Of the 20 occupations in demand nationally, more than half require vocational qualifications and significant training times. Electricians, motor mechanics, metal fitters and machinists, engineering, chefs continue to feature prominently.”

Australia’s skills shortage is the second highest in the OECD.

The government would need to make a concerted effort to put the right number of people into in-demand jobs, including the IT industry, Lilly said.

“This requires sustained effort to build the pipeline of trade and other vocational skills over the next decade,” she said.

“Anything less bakes in the problem.  A range of ICT occupations has also featured in the list, some for the first time, including software application programmers, ICT business and systems and ICT security specialists and business analysts.

“It is clearly an imperative to develop significantly more qualified ICT workers who will be necessary for our digital future.”

Top 20 occupations in demand nationally
(October – December 2022)

1Registered Nurses8377
2Software and Applications Programmers6269
3Aged and Disabled Carers4642
4Child Carers4277
5Construction Managers4230
6Motor Mechanics3924
7Retail Managers3777
9Generalist Medical Practitioners3352
10Metal Fitters and Machinists3137
11ICT Business and Systems Analysts3053
12Civil Engineering Professionals2871
14Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teachers2493
15Contract, Program and Project Administrators2392
16Advertising and Marketing Professionals2265
19Mining Engineers957
20Database and Systems Administrators, & ICT Security Specialists942

Source: Labour Market Update, Jobs and Skills Australia.

Topics: Employment
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