Australia’s growing skills shortage is most pronounced in the Construction, Building and Engineering categories, across Professional, Associate Professional and Trades occupations, according to the latest analysis by the recruitment agency, Clarius Group.


The March Clarius Skills Index reports that serious national skills shortages are re-emerging after a brief oversupply in the December quarter as Australia faces increasing demands from the rebuilding phases after natural disasters this year and the ongoing resources boom.


Demand for skilled labour rose during the March quarter by 64,000 people (1.9 per cent) while supply increased by only 51,400 people (1.5 per cent). As a result, the Clarius Skills Index has risen in the March quarter, and remains at 100.3, up from 99.9. An Index of 100 indicates a balanced labour market.


The Skills Index  shows a shortage of 400 in the Professional Associates category of Building and Engineering and of 2,200 Computing Professionals across the government and private sector.


The Clarius Skills Index, prepared by KPMG Econtech, measures skilled labour shortages or oversupply across 20 occupation categories, using labour force data supplied by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. 


Major shortages identified in the March Index are in Metal Trades (11,300), Automotive (8,300), Construction (2,600) and Wood (1,300), while there is an oversupply in Health, Social and Electronic occupation categories.


Clarius COO Kym Quick, said as recovery moves into the rebuilding phase demands for construction, engineering and building skills will combine with the escalation of the resources boom in Western Australia and major IT projects to place a growing drain on the nation’s available skills.


“This is shaping as a major national issue. WA’s boom economy continues draw a range of skills. The impact of the floods, and cyclone in Queensland, has not fully translated into major shifts in labour demand or supply but they are now starting to emerge,” she said.


“There are also pressures in the IT sector as three of the major banks spend $4 billion dollars to upgrade their IT systems and the national NBN rollout, despite issues with 14 tenders, continues.”


More information is at