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November 9, 2015

Australia: Skills Drought Challenges Industry

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The tourism and hospitality sector will require an additional 123,000 workers by 2020, to meet the needs of a rapidly growing industry, according to the 2015 Australian Tourism Labour Force Report, released by Tourism Research Australia (TRA).

Currently, Australia is undergoing a rapid period of hotel development, with over 70 hotels and some 10,000 rooms under construction or in advanced stages of planning. 

Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) said the report identified that there would be a need for 60,000 skilled positions, requiring a major lift in local recruitment and training, and a relaxation in temporary skilled migration provisions (457 Visas and working holiday visas) to ensure Australia’s tourism businesses had enough skilled workers to meet future demands.

The TRA report estimated that inbound travel would grow by 6 per cent annually from 2015-2020, with the number of international visitors growing from the current 7.2 million to over 10 million by 2023-24.

The findings complement TAA’s Labour Force Trends in Accommodation Survey which concluded that limited applicants with sufficient skills and experience was the biggest factor contributing to skills shortages in the industry.

“The TRA survey identified a large increase in the proportion of businesses reporting skills deficiencies, growing from 50 per cent of businesses in 2011 to 69 per cent in 2015, and while NSW and Victoria reported the highest volume of skills shortages, all States and Territories were affected with Northern Territory and Western Australia particularly vulnerable to skilled labour shortages,” said Martin Ferguson (pictured), TAA chairman.

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