Australian skillset database

At various times I have found myself looking for work and getting frustrated at the inefficiencies that exist in Australia’s job seeking market.

To me, the whole situation could be, and should be, greatly improved with online tools that let people define their skills more accurately and for employers to more clearly define the skills they require. Really, it is a matter of adding a lot more information into the area. To me, it seems straight forward that large productivity improvements will be gained if we can improve our utilization of the current skill sets currently possessed by Australians. Even more so if it is made clear what skills we are potentially lacking. In that case, we can put resources into training in those areas.

A part of this improvement would come from breaking down a job into its components so a better appreciation of what is required to transition across roles. For example, picking and packing automotive parts is best done by someone with picking and packing experience in the automotive industry, but that person would have a lot of the skills required to pick and pack for a hardware supplier as well. This is also true for roles requiring higher qualifications. Analysis in one industry is, of course, best done by the analysts in that industry. But, a lot of skills those analysts use would also be used in other industries. By ignoring this fact, the talent pool available to the industry is greatly reduced. Cross transfer of skills is also reduced as the gap between industries increases.

Alternatively, if each job more specifically listed the skills or knowledge used for a particular job, the skills that were more general could be identified by people with those skills and more accurate assessments could be made as to how hard it would be for a transition from a related role.

A nationwide database that stored the collated results of available skills could be plumbed for insights that benefit of the country. Employers could potentially determine where surplus skilled labour existed, what training could bridge any skill gaps and likewise for employees. Job seekers could be sure about which training could be undertaken to maximize their employability. At the other end of the spectrum, they could identify if their skills were becoming less relevant in the area they lived.

I have listed some relevant points: 

  • Known skill frameworks such as SFIA (Skills Framework for the Information Age could be utilized
  • Any particular role can be assigned a unique list of skills but job titles (ie plumber, secretary…) are going to have common skill sets which can be used to make skill selection more straight forward
  • All Australians select skills they have performed on a regular (annual?) basis
  • Recording skill sets are incentivised. For example, made part of lodging someone’s income tax.
  • Assessing skill-sets is also incentivized.
  • A balance between employer and employee benefits could be used to encourage people to keep their skill list up to date.
  • Open to analysis
    • Employers can see where abundance in certain skill sets exist
    • Workers can see what skills are required
    • Training organisations can cater to what is required
  • Skills are time stamped at assessment periods so their utility can be assessed
  • Governments can see potential strengths and weaknesses in Australia’s skills -> Modelling this can ensure training is targeted
  • Organisations can look at ways to measure skills and improve skills via training and related approaches

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