Workforce is the most skilled ever

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ALMOST two-thirds of Australians now have gone on to some kind of study after high school than have not, making the workforce the most skilled it has ever been.

This year, for the first time, the proportion of workers who hold a vocational qualification the largest cohort of skilled workers is equal to that who stopped at high school, which used to be most workers.

contenttype="text" Employment Department data finds 32 per cent of workers this year have a certificate III, IV, diploma or advanced diploma qualification, up from 30 per cent last year.

Meanwhile the proportion who do not have a post-school qualification fell from 34 per cent in 2015 to 32 per cent this year the lowest it has ever been.

A further 31 per cent of workers have a bachelor or postgraduate degree, bringing the total percentage of workers who have a post-school skill to 63 per cent, up from 59 per cent the previous year and 56 per cent in 2011.

contenttype="text" SkillsOne chief executive Brian Wexham said Australians increasingly recognised the importance of having a skill.

The idea of people needing to have a qualification has always been important, he said.

A skilled labour force increases productivity and improves the whole economic outlook for Australia.

Wexham said the positive statistics reflected an uptake in training not only among school leavers but also older workers changing industry or formalising their experience.

In order to work in childcare (for example) you now need a certificate III or diploma, he said.

Previously there were a lot of workers who had neither of those so they had to go and get trained.

contenttype="text" Graduate Careers Australia policy adviser Bruce Guthrie said the number of people studying a tertiary degree had increased during the past 20 years, with school leavers leading the charge to get qualified in order to get a job.

Its not like 30-odd years ago theres not a lot of employment options for people who just have Year 12, theres an expectation that people have some sort of post-school study and qualifications in order to improve their employment prospects, he said.

I think in the world today, I think theres a tendency among the population to believe that a university degree is superior to a trade qualification I dont agree with that.

Its horses for courses. Some people who are studying for degrees would probably be happier to do an apprenticeship.

I think people should be looking at a wider range of options post-school in terms of training.

He said it was taking university graduates longer to get work now than historically, and the jobs they find may not be what they had hoped for or sometimes trained for.

But they did get jobs and the unemployment rate for graduates was half that of those who did not have post-school qualifications, he said.

The Employment Department data also finds the professional, scientific and technical services sector in which four out of five workers have a post-school qualification now has a workforce of more than a million people for the first time.

It is set to overtake the number of people employed in construction by the end of the year to become the third-largest employing sector nationally.

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT BY STATE

NSW

33 per cent bachelor degree

31 per cent certificate III/IV/diploma/advanced diploma

31 per cent no post-school qualification

VIC

34 per cent bachelor degree

30 per cent certificate III/IV/diploma/advanced diploma

31 per cent no post-school qualification

QLD

25 per cent bachelor degree

34 per cent certificate III/IV/diploma/advanced diploma

36 per cent no post-school qualification

SA

27 per cent bachelor degree

32 per cent certificate III/IV/diploma/advanced diploma

33 per cent no post-school qualification

WA

28 per cent bachelor degree

33 per cent certificate III/IV/diploma/advanced diploma

33 per cent no post-school qualification

TAS

22 per cent bachelor degree

36 per cent certificate III/IV/diploma/advanced diploma

36 per cent no post-school qualification

NT

26 per cent bachelor degree

35 per cent certificate III/IV/diploma/advanced diploma

35 per cent no post-school qualification

ACT

43 per cent bachelor degree

27 per cent certificate III/IV/diploma/advanced diploma

25 per cent no post-school qualification

(note the totals dont add up to 100% because the remainder have done a certificate I or II which is only partway/used as credit to a certificate III)

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