Latest News

High training costs will lower apprentice numbers

A study by the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) together with Deloitte, called ‘Skilling Business in Tough Times’, suggests that pressures on training and employment over the past year will impact negatively on the number of apprentices hired and kept-on throughout 2010.

The study surveyed 500 chief executive officers in Australian businesses of all sizes about their efforts to retain and up-skill existing staff members, along with their willingness to hire new workers.

Skilling Business in Tough Times found that the global financial downturn has lead to tough pressure on business owners to continue spending money on staff training while their budgets are steadily decreasing.

The survey found that as a consequence of the 2008—09 downturn the overall expenditure on training by business will be reduced by 4.1 per cent in 2009—10. A third of businesses reported plans to reduce training expenditure and four out of five of those companies are reducing their training budgets by more than 20 per cent.

Also, 36.8 per cent of companies employing apprentices expect to reduce the number of apprentices in training in 2009—10 by 5.9 per cent. In addition, the uptake of new apprentices is expected to be down by 10.6 per cent over that period.

Though employment is not expected to hit the lows of past downturns, companies plan to reduce employment by an average of 3.8 per cent in 2009—10, the report found. Across the sectors, employment is expected to fall 3.0 per cent in manufacturing, 2.5 per cent in construction and 4 per cent in services.

“Despite the downturn and its impact on employment, skill shortages continue to be a major strategic issue for business, and industry remains alert to the problem. Indeed, over the next 12 months skills shortages are anticipated for a range of occupations. Most prominent among these are technicians and trades workers at 28.1 per cent of companies and engineers at 15.3 per cent of companies,” said Ai Group chief executive, Heather Ridout.

Deloitte Human Capital partner David Brown said: “Beyond the technical skills shortages highlighted in the survey, reduced investment in leadership training is also having an impact on senior managers and executives in Australia.

“Under investment in leadership training will need to be addressed if Australia is to take advantage of being one of the first economies to emerge from the downturn and attract the talent it needs to drive growth.

“Organisations will need to ensure they attract and retain more than their fair share of the available talent, particularly as we start to see an increase in the demand for talent in the new year.”

Send this to a friend