Why Aussie workers are chasing the wrong skills
Aussie jobseekers are ignoring where future jobs will be, instead preparing for roles of the past and creating massive worker shortages by the end of next year.
New Korn Ferry research predicted employers would struggle to fill as many as 739,000 positions for highly-skilled workers by 2020, exacerbated by Australia approaching "full employment".
Korn Ferry organisational strategy practice head Andrew Lafontaine said more people were graduating university yet they were having trouble finding work in their field, meanwhile other jobs were going unfilled.
They did not want the roles that were forecast for future shortages, instead continuing to chase the roles of the past.
Federal Government projections found personal assistants, secretaries, bank workers, surveyors and mining engineers would be among the workers in decline in the next five years.
Steve Shepherd, chief executive of career coach TwoPointZero, recommended avoiding routine roles that could be automated in a cost-effective way.
"I would be looking very carefully at certain types of roles, such as entry-level law," he said.
"I'd be thinking 'How many opportunities are there and how many graduates are there? Am I joining a long queue of graduate lawyers when there are only a few jobs in that space?'"
Mr Lafontaine said the nature of work and what organisations wanted from graduates was changing.
He said talent shortages existed for people who understood the intricacies of technology - such as cyber security and cloud experts - but also people who knew more broadly how to apply digital solutions in business.
"We need people thinking 'I have this technology, but how do I make a business model out of it' - for example, Airbnb and eBay," he said.
"We are not producing enough of these people out of university."
Mr Lafontaine said future talent shortages would also be in the areas of health and customer experience.
He said talent shortages were influenced by Australia's low unemployment rate.
Generally, economists considered the country to be at "full employment" when it hit the magic figure of 5 per cent unemployment or lower.
It was 5.1 per cent in October, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports.
Rolling 12-month averages for October revealed some of the lowest unemployment rates were in Sydney's Baulkham Hills-Hawkesbury area (2.8 per cent), Warrnambool and South West Victoria (3.4 per cent), Mackay (3.5 per cent), Darwin (3.9 per cent), and Adelaide Central and Hills (4.2 per cent).
The South Australian Outback recorded the biggest drop in unemployment year on year, with a difference of 2.6 to reach just 4.7 per cent unemployment.
Other areas where unemployment significantly improved were North West Melbourne (down 1.7 year on year), outer South West Sydney and East Brisbane (each down 1.4).
Mr Lafontaine said apart from Australia nearing "full employment", other factors contributing to predicted talent shortages included an ageing population and cuts to 457 visas and immigration levels.
Earlier this year, Manpower Group revealed 34 per cent of Australian employers could not find the skills they needed to fill roles.
Almost a third said applicants lacked hard skills or human strengths required for the roles.
Skilled trades - including electricians, welders and mechanics - were in the most demand.
One in four employers said it was more difficult to find skilled tradespeople in 2018 than in 2017, the Solving the Talent Shortage report revealed.
Mr Shepherd said tradespeople, such as plumbers, were among the workers unlikely to lose their jobs to automation.