Australia's skills shortage: A nation consistent in playing catch-up

Australia's skills shortage: A nation consistent in playing catch-up

An expert from RMIT University is available to comment on how the Australian government and industries need to prioritise current employees and younger workers when addressing skills shortages.

Prof. Victor Gekara, College of Business and Law, RMIT University (0451 001928 or

Topics: skills shortages, younger workers, training, VET, workforce, production systems 

“The Australian government and industry only begin to talk about workforce skills when a crisis is apparent – ‘the economy is facing a skills crisis therefore we must do something’. Australia’s workforce is therefore always playing catch up.

“This is unlike in countries like Singapore where workforce skills development is always top of the agenda. 

“With appropriate training policies and industry skilling strategies, younger workers stand to gain a lot from the changes brought about by the pandemic. 

“The question is whether businesses will provide appropriate opportunities and whether the government is prepared to adopt effective training policies, particularly relating to funding and resourcing VET.

“Skill shortages will also always exist if employers continue to put less priority on investing in workforce skills, and instead prioritise investment into new technologies and production systems.

“It is only after these systems and technologies are in place, and not working properly because the workers have not been appropriately trained, that they start to think about workforce skills. By then, it is a little late.

“New technologies should ideally enhance workers' skills, productivity and employability. However, the reactionary tendency by employers, combined with a narrow specific production process focus on the skills they provide, make workers too narrowly skilled to easily get jobs anywhere.  

“So, whether new technologies are good for workers in terms of their skills depends on employers' attitude towards providing skills for their workers.”

Prof. Victor Gekara is a leading scholar of industrial transformations and the future of employment, work and skills in transport, logistics and supply chains. His research and teaching focus on technology transformations in transport and logistics, technology management and the implications for work, employment, and workforce skills. His research is diversely located across Sociology of work, Political Economy and Management, in which he has developed and led several large-scale industry and government funded research projects.


Interviews: Prof. Victor Gekara, College of Business and Law, RMIT University, 0451 001928 or

General media enquiries: RMIT Communications, 0439 704 077 or

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.