Where are the jobs?

There's nothing quite so reassuring as possessing a skill that's in demand

There's not much use getting a qualification unless it leads to a job. While it's tricky to predict the future, there's plenty of data suggesting what Australia's growth industries will be.

If you're going to invest time, effort and money in studying something, whether it's a full-time course, short course or higher education, you want to be confident that there's going to be a demand for the skills you're acquiring. Unfortunately, no one has a crystal ball capable of predicting with 100 per cent accuracy what the economy and workforce is going to look like five years, or even five months from now. But there's information available indicating where the jobs are likely to be in coming years.

People sometimes assume that in the future, everyone's going to be working in high-tech jobs in industries such as IT. But the reality is that some of the biggest demand for workers over at least the next decade is likely to be in what are considered ‘old-school' industries.

Top 10 growth industries to 2015

In 2010, the business research firm IBISWorld predicted these following 10 industries would experience the greatest employment growth in Australia over the ensuing five years:

  • Organic farming
  • Investment banking and securities brokerage
  • Mining
  • Online information services
  • Child care services
  • Veterinary sciences
  • Financial planning and investment advice
  • Accounting services
  • General hospitals
  • Biotechnology
  • So yes, there is demand for 21st-century jobs like biotech lab technicians, but there are also lots of opportunities for mining electricians, nurses, vet nurses and child care workers.

    Australia's ongoing trade skill shortage

    According to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, the following tradespeople have been in short supply for the last five years:

  • Automotive electricians
  • Panel beaters
  • Air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics
  • Chefs
  • Cooks
  • Hairdressers
  • Electrical linesworkers
  • Locksmiths
  • Stonemasons
  • Bakers
  • Butchers (or smallgoods makers)
  • Arborists
  • Vehicle trimmers
  • And for four out of the last five years, the following have also been in short supply:

  • Motor mechanics
  • Sheet metal trades workers
  • Metal machinists (first class)
  • Vehicle painters
  • Plumbers (all specialisations)
  • There's nothing quite so reassuring as possessing a skill that's in demand. It means you can always get a job and, most of the time, get a well-paid one. Despite the sci-fi visions of the future sometimes promoted, the reality is that there is still going to be strong demand for workers with vocational qualifications for many years to come.

    You can check out courses at TAFE NSW to see the huge selection of apprenticeships, traineeships and diplomas on offer.