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Education Training, Human Resources

New Data Reveals More than Half of Aussies Believe Affordable Education is Quickest Fix for Skills Gap

Immigration to Australia 4 mins read

MEDIA RELEASE 
19 September 2023 
 

More than half of Aussies believe Affordable Education is Quickest Fix for Skills Gap

  • Study finds 54% of Australians believe free or cheaper university and TAFE courses will best solve our skills shortage
  • 22% also believe free or cheaper TAFE and university is the fastest solution
  • 56% of under-35s believe free university or TAFE is the best solution 
  • 57% of over-55s think incentives such as tax breaks for companies that hire and train apprentices will best solve our skills shortage
  • Just 7% believe the skills shortage will be solved by companies outsourcing to offshore teams

 
New research has found that more than half (54%) of Australians believe that cheaper or free TAFE or university courses are the most effective way to solve the country’s skills shortage, and 22 per cent believe it is also the fastest solution.
 
The finding was derived from a survey of an independent, nationally representative panel of 1012 Australians commissioned by immigration assistance and advice platform Immigration to Australia,  which sought to find out what Australians think is the most effective and fastest way to solve the current skills shortage.
 
Respondents were presented with 14 possible solutions to Australia’s skills shortage and were asked to select which options they believed would be the most effective and which would be the fastest solution.  
 

  • Bring in higher numbers of skilled migrants.
  • A greater number of fast, accredited courses recognised by industries most impacted by the skills shortage.
  • Cheaper/free TAFE or university courses.
  • Introduce programs where students must work while studying.
  • Lower the age at which teenagers are allowed to work.
  • Increase the retirement age (and access to super or pension).
  • Tax or wage incentives by Government for more people (for instance, new mums, and young adults living at home) to enter the workforce.
  • Tax or wage incentives for the underemployed to get a second job
  • More AI and technologies to replace people (for instance, in customer service).
  • Companies outsourcing work to offshore teams.
  • Govt incentives, such as tax breaks, for companies that hire and train apprentices and interns.
  • The Government expanding visa programs and opportunities for foreign students to study and work in Australia after graduation.
  • Partnerships between industries and educational institutions to ensure training programs are aligned with industry needs.
  • Recognition of more overseas qualifications.

 
The full results of the survey can be found here: https://immigration2australia.com/australians-vote-on-the-most-effective-and-fastest-ways-to-solve-the-countrys-skills-shortage/ 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported an elevated number of job vacancies this year and a persistent gap between the average number of qualified and suitable applicants. Job vacancies were 89.3 per cent higher in May 2023 than in February 2020, demonstrating a continuing labour shortage across many industries[1]. The Australian government is already addressing this need through the delivery of 180,000 fee-free TAFE and vocational education places across Australia this year[2]
 
The survey results also found that half (50%) of respondents believe that government incentives, such as tax breaks for companies that hire and train apprentices and interns, along with partnerships between industries and educational institutions (46%), are the most effective way to solve the skills shortage and help fill this skills gap. 
 
When asked what the fastest way to solve the skills shortage is, the highest number of respondents believed in opting for cheaper/free TAFE or university courses (22%), followed by accepting a higher number of skilled migrants (12%). 
 
The survey reported that Australians are least in favour of companies outsourcing work to offshore teams (chosen by only 7% of respondents), demonstrating a strong desire for jobs to remain onshore in Australia. That was closely followed by just 10 per cent of respondents feeling an increase in AI and tech to replace human resources will help solve the skills shortage, showing that Australians are not keen to rely on automation and digitalisation as a solution to the problem. 
 
The survey found that respondents do not believe Australia’s current working age is to blame for the skills shortage. Only a small number of respondents felt that younger teenagers should be allowed to work (10%) or that the retirement age should be increased (13%). 
 
Immigration to Australia compared responses across age groups and found that across all generations, cheaper/free TAFE or university courses were voted as the most effective and the fastest way to solve the skills shortage. More than half (57%) of older Aussies aged 55+ believe government incentives to hire apprentices/interns is the most effective, compared to 40 per cent of younger Aussies, and 16 per cent of those over 55 believe the fastest solution is to increase the number of skilled immigrants, compared to only 9 per cent of 18-34 year olds. 
 
Immigration to Australia compared responses across the major states and found that NSW (52%) and Victorian residents (56%) are most in favour of cheaper or free university or TAFE courses as the solution to the skills shortage. Queenslanders (55%), West Australians (62%) and South Australians (63%) are most in favour of increasing government incentives for companies to hire and train apprentices and interns. 
 
The survey found that 30 per cent of respondents believe expanding visa programs and opportunities could help Australia solve the skills shortage over the long term. 
 
The 2022-23 budget addressed critical skill shortages across Australia by increasing the cap on the number of places available to Working Holiday Makers, providing an additional 16,500 places to Afghan nationals under the Humanitarian program over a four-year period, increasing the Migration Program Skill Stream by more than 30,000 places and moving to a demand-driven model for partner visa processing to provide greater flexibility in meeting the demand for partner visas[3]
 
The full results of the survey can be found here: https://immigration2australia.com/australians-vote-on-the-most-effective-and-fastest-ways-to-solve-the-countrys-skills-shortage/ 
 

- ENDS –

 
 
About Immigration to Australia 
Immigration to Australia is an online platform that covers the practical things involved in Australian immigration, helping migrants to save time and avoid common costly mistakes. The content is based on the knowledge and practical experience of people who have successfully immigrated to Australia and includes tips for successful Australian immigration including types of visas, working and finding a job, studying, opening a business, culture, enjoying the Australian lifestyle, cost of living, and where to live.
https://immigraiton2australia.com/
 

 

[1] https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/jobs/job-vacancies-australia/latest-release

[2] https://www.dewr.gov.au/newsroom/articles/180000-feefree-tafe-courses-now-available-0

[3] https://minister.homeaffairs.gov.au/AlexHawke/Pages/2022-23-budget-release.aspx





Key Facts:

  • Study finds 54% of Australians believe free or cheaper university and TAFE courses will best solve our skills shortage
  • 22% also believe free or cheaper TAFE and university is the fastest solution
  • 56% of under-35s believe free university or TAFE is the best solution 
  • 57% of over-55s think incentives such as tax breaks for companies that hire and train apprentices will best solve our skills shortage
  • Just 7% believe the skills shortage will be solved by companies outsourcing to offshore teams

Contact details:

Gillian Morgan | 0447 254 662 gmorgan@theideassuite.com.au
Courtney Trewin | 0420 211 251 |ctrewin@theideassuite.com.au 

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