Skill Shortages

DEEWR (Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations ) monitors the labor market for a range of skilled occupations to identify and report on shortages. They also conduct surveys of employers in specific industries and locations to identify their recruitment experiences.

Skill shortage ratings are allocated to occupations based on the following definitions:

  • Shortage – Skill shortages exist when employers are unable to fill or have considerable difficulty filling vacancies for an occupation, or significant specialized skill needs within that occupation, at current levels of remuneration and conditions of employment, and in reasonably accessible locations.

The Department publishes an array of information about the labor market and skill shortages.

  • Small Area Labor Markets (quarterly publication presenting estimates the level of unemployment and the unemployment rate for approximately 1400 Statistical Local Areas).
  • Australian Regional Labor Markets (quarterly publication presenting statistics on employment, unemployment and participation rates by ABS labour force region as well as by state/territory and metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas).
  • Skills Info (information on employment trends and labor market characteristics for states and territories, and for Labor Market Regions).
  • Occupational and industry labor force data, such as employment levels, gender, hours of work, job prospects and projected employment growth are at  Job Outlook (provides data on 353 individual occupations, including earnings, age profile, hours of work, state distribution, and future job prospects).
  • Skills Info (provides comprehensive data on industry employment trends and characteristics, including future employment projections by industry).
  • Australian Jobs (annual publication which brings together up-to-date information about jobs, including a guide to the occupations and industries in which Australians work, highlighting jobs with good prospects).


Recruitment difficulty

Recruitment difficulties occur when some employers have difficulty filling vacancies for an occupation.

There may be an adequate supply of skilled workers but some employers are unable to attract and recruit sufficient, suitable workers for reasons which include:

  • Specific experience or specialist skill requirements of the vacancy;
  • Differences in hours of work required by the employer and those sought by applicants; or
  • Particular location or transport issues.

Ratings may be applied to either regional or metropolitan areas, but only if the research suggests there is substantial variation between the two. A rating of shortage does not mean every job seeker will readily find employment. Ratings should always be viewed in the context of the full occupational analysis, which is available in the publications or occupational reports areas of this website.

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