Tuesday, 25 February 2020 12:45

Employers struggle to fill skills gaps from within their business Featured

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Concerns over the growing digital skills gap in Australia’s workforce have been revealed in a new study that found that 88% of employers find it hard to get employees with the skills they need.

The study - ‘LEARN. WORK. REPEAT. The value of lifelong learning in professional industries’. - by RMIT Online in collaboration with Deloitte Access Economics - revealed that 49% of businesses approach skill shortages within their organisation by hiring new employees.

And just 45% of businesses say they mediate the issue by delivering education and training internally - despite the fact that the cost of replacing a bad hiring decision within six months is two and a half times the person’s salary.

The survey delved into employers’ perceptions of the value of lifelong learning for businesses and individuals, polling over 600 Australian businesses in professional industries.

Key findings from the study revealed:

  • Over two-thirds (68%) of professional employers surveyed believed the benefits are shared roughly equally between the individual and the business overall
  • Most common business benefits from lifelong learning are identified as delivering better customer service and client service
  • 15% of surveyed businesses in professional industries have no means of addressing skill shortages within their own organisation.

Helen Souness, CEO of RMIT Online says that the recommendations in the study whitepaper highlight the urgent need to adapt with a rapidly evolving workforce culture and demand.

“The evolution of work is charging full steam ahead and Australia’s global competitiveness is on the line,” she said.

“The findings in our whitepaper offer an optimistic glimpse into the future of work and industry 5.0, where lifelong learning can unlock the potential of emerging technologies, flying in the face of fears that “robots will take our jobs.

“This new environment is one where individuals thrive and succeed through self-expansion and constant reinvention enabled by lifelong learning. While this will require a shift in traditional ways of thinking, it represents an exciting opportunity for growth, both on an economic and personal level, that continues well beyond the years we spend in school or university.”

RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President Martin Bean CBE said the university was outspoken about its mission to prepare students for life and work, not just to get a job.

“We know the future of work will demand new skills and a greater focus on resilience, adaptability, creativity and more,” he said.

“That’s why we’re continuously adapting, providing fit-for-purpose-education in emerging in-demand fields and retraining students at pace.

“Students can visit, return, or top-up on demand and that’s exactly what an evolving, disrupted workplace requires.”

The ‘LEARN. WORK. REPEAT. The value of lifelong learning in professional industries’ whitepaper is available online via the following link.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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