Outlook grim for skilled workers in 2010

AS many as 50,000 skilled workers could be looking for work by 2010 across most industries, according to a new survey.

Demand for skilled workers looks to have peaked in the final three months of 2008, with chefs the number one occupation still being sought, the Clarius Skills Index shows.

The research shows the gap between positions available and candidates available shrank by 10,000 in the December quarter.

Based on its forecast of an unemployment rate of 6.1 per cent by mid-2010, it expects there will be an oversupply of skilled workers of between 35,000 and 50,000 next year.

The Federal Government is expecting a 7.0 per cent jobless rate by June 2010, compared with a jobless rate of 4.8 per cent in February 2009.

Clarius Group executive chairman, Geoff Moles, said the predicted oversupply of labour would represent a massive change in the employment landscape but its effects would be far from uniform.

“While economic pressures are changing the national employment landscape rapidly, the skilled labour market easing does not reflect the reality in every industry sector, with extreme shortages persisting in a few professions,” he said.

He said there were still 39,000 unfilled skilled positions across professional occupations - building and engineering, accounting and auditing, healthcare and computing - in the December quarter.

There were also 60,000 tradespersons such as construction, automotive trades and metalworkers.

He said the terrible tragedies of both the Victorian bushfires and the Queensland floods may increase demand in sectors where shortages persist, such as building, engineering and trades industries.

Demand for accountants and auditors also peaked in the December quarter as redundancy programs at the country's big four accountancy firms were undertaken.


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