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Skills in demand for 2024
Knowing what skills will be in highest demand for the year ahead can help employers and employees alike prepare. For business leaders, advanced knowledge of the skills that will be in short supply can help you design strategies for attraction and retention and inform internal training efforts to ensure teams can be upskilled appropriately. For employees, this list can help guide future career ambitions and learning plans.
We update this list yearly in line with the latest recruitment trends to ensure you can navigate the market changes to remain competitive – whether you’re looking for a new job opportunity or to increase your workforce.
The factors driving demand
In 2023, the skills market remained incredibly tight, with 88 per cent of employers experiencing a skills shortage, and 40 per cent saying that it had intensified. This spurred businesses to move toward skills-based hiring models to widen their talent networks to secure the skills they need.
Meanwhile, an uncompetitive salary has become the top reason for employees switching jobs, instigated by a volatile economic climate, interest rate increases and high inflation that have seen the cost of living soar. On the employer side, new workplace relation reforms have spiked demand in specific roles, and increased investment into cyber security has not only had an impact on the technology industry, but others as well.
Top skills in demand
We’ve examined job market trends across the industries and sectors we recruit within. Below are the top five most in-demand skills that companies need nationally. These are the skills that are in strongest demand relative to supply. We’ve focused on job titles to reveal the specific hard or technical skills at the top of the supply and demand imbalance. If you’re interested in the top soft skills in demand, we have also complied the seven job ready soft skills you need today.
Industrial and Employee Relations Specialists
HR professionals, particularly those that specialise in industrial and employee relations are experiencing heightened demand in the market. The spike of activity in workplace relations is a direct reflection of the larger than normal volume of reforms in 2023. HR Business Partners, Employee Relations Specialists, Workplace Relations Specialists and Managers are in demand as a result.
Check out Industrial and Employee Relations jobs here.
Accounting professionals are still highly sought after, particularly in the intermediate range of two to 10 years’ experience. Talent can be difficult to source in this bracket as there has been a steady decline in people undertaking a degree in accounting. Technical Financial Accountants and Management Accountants with experience also remain in demand. The key skill needed in this sector is strong corporate reporting skills.
Check out Accounting jobs here.
Early Childhood Teachers and Education Leaders
There continues to be an acute shortage of Early Childhood Educators. A shortage of qualified graduates and skilled migrants alongside increased accessibility of early childhood care through government initiatives and workers continuing to return to the office has squeezed the industry. The most in demand skills here are experience in the industry and a passion for planning creative and engaging activities with strong curriculum knowledge of EYLF (Early Years Learning Framework) and NQF (National Quality Framework).
See available Early Childhood Educator jobs here.
Banking and Insurance
Privacy and data protection is set to be a continued growth area in 2024. Major legislative reforms means there will be significant changes to the privacy act as well as greater range of enforcement powers given to the OAIC (Office of the Australian Information Commissioner). Workers who have privacy and compliance knowledge, ability to interpret regulatory change and advise business and manage the assessment of privacy risk will be in high demand.
Check out Banking and Insurance jobs here.
Cyber Insurance Specialists
The cyber security industry in general continues to show strong growth and in particular the cyber insurance market is demonstrating a strong surge. More specialised underwriting agencies are focusing on this market, with workers who have direct experience in policy writing highly sought after. Claims and incident response workers are in demand as well –with the threat of cyber breaches becoming ubiquitous, expert claims teams need to be in place to respond to threats proactively.
Look at Cyber Security jobs here.
Other skills in demand
TAS and Science Teachers
TAS teachers (Technological and Applied Studies) are in short supply and high demand, due to strong competition from outside the education sector for their talents. A continued focus on STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to meet future needs in the world of work means Science Teachers are in demand. Highly desirable skills in education is the ability to plan creative and engaging lessons based off strong curriculum knowledge.
Check out Education jobs here.
Legal Counsels with four to eight years PAE (post-admission) experience in commercial law and contracts are in constant demand. There are shortages overall at this level, and when in-house teams are looking to add to their headcount, they prefer those with mid-level experience. Demand for Litigation Lawyers has also picked up and is expected to continue well into 2024.
Look at Legal Counsel jobs here.
Business Development Managers
The continued volatility in the economy means that many businesses are placing increased emphasis on sales growth. This is showing up in the demand for sales roles, such as Business Development Managers, Account Managers and Sales Engineers, with experience in using systems such as Salesforce highly desirable.
Check out Sales roles here.
Office support roles continue to see high demand across all sectors, well after the influx of roles after offices reopened. Executive Assistants are the most highly sought after, with experienced and highly skilled workers not staying on the job market for long.
Take a look at Office Support roles here.
From Civil to Electrical and Grid – engineering roles are still in high demand. With both federal and state governments continuing to focus on infrastructure building hiring demand is high right across the nation. While skilled migration will help, it can be incredibly difficult for overseas-trained Engineers to get their licence accredited in Australia. This slows the transition of the skills into the Australian market. A continued focus on decarbonisation and energy supply transformation projects, means that these skills will continue to be in high demand, in particular we’re seeing a call out for Grids Connection and Power System Engineers, especially in the country’s more rural regions.
Check out Engineering roles here.
If someone has corporate communications experience, they tend not to stay on the market for very long. The sheer volume of work available means there are shortages present, and Communications Specialists are snapped up quickly.
See Communication Specialist jobs here.
Project Managers continue to see demand across industries, the shortage being a direct reflection of the volume and complexity of projects being undertaken by organisations. As businesses continue to roll out projects to capitalise on economic opportunities, adapt to changes in the regulatory environment, and embed agility or new technology into their operations, Project Managers lead change and transformation programs and guide a project’s output. We are seeing specific demand for Project Managers in Facilities Management with a background in Architecture, and Fitout Project Managers in the Construction space.
Check out Project Manager jobs here.
Revit Drafters and Project Architects
In the Architecture space, Revit Drafters are experiencing increased demand to provide support in the drafting of detailed construction plans. Employees in this role need to be well-versed in programs such as Revit MEP, AutoCAD and more. Project Architects are also sought-after, helping to oversee the design and construction of a project through an architectural lens.
Check out Revit Drafter roles here.
With many government contracts up for renewal, candidates with experience in setting up panels leading tender requests and drafting contracts will be in high demand as these contracts become available.
Take a look at Procurement Specialist roles here.
Heightened focus on external suppliers in government has also fed demand for professionals experienced in handling more intricate contracts. These individuals need to possess skills in assessing supplier performance, negotiation and managing established contracts, the latter which is an extremely rare skill in the current market.
Check out Contract Manager jobs here.
Infrastructure Sustainability Advisor
The spotlight is shining on the environmental and sustainability impacts of infrastructure projects, meaning there has been an increased demand for Infrastructure Sustainability Advisors to help identify methods of improving sustainability outcomes for infrastructure projects.
Check out Infrastructure Sustainability Advisor roles here.
Sustainable Buildings Engineer
To meet the growing demand of net-zero carbon projects, as well as implement life-cycle assessments and green building accreditations, Sustainable Buildings Engineers have seen increased demand for their services.
See Sustainable Buildings Engineer jobs here.
Defence Bid/Capture Managers
The defence industry has grown, and so have contract opportunities. This has made Bid/Capture Managers more sought after as organisations need to foster strong relationships within the industry and develop strong tenders that showcase their capabilities.
Check out Bid/Capture Manager roles here.
Specialist Engineers – Safety/Combat
The modern-day defence project has grown in its complexity, meaning Specialist Engineering roles have experienced demand growth to be able to carry out these projects. With many new programs there are no shortage of opportunities for System Engineers across Australia.
Check out Specialist Engineering roles here.
Contact Centre Workers
Experienced Customer Service Representatives in Contact Centres are still sought after. Often being the first point of contact between an organisation and their customers, they are integral in building customer retention through dealing with queries effectively and with great communication skills.
Check out Customer Service Representative roles here.
Electricians are constantly in demand on a national scale, with the industry difficult to recruit for outside of local talent region to region. A-Grade licensed Electricians are the most in sought-after when it comes to hiring. Diesel Mechanics are another trade that is seeing an increase in demand heading into 2024.
Take a look at available Labourer roles here.
Paste Crew roles, all FIFO residential mining roles and Diesel Fitters are the areas that are experiencing heightened demand in the mining sector. Diesel Fitters are sought-after outside of mining, meaning there is competition for their talent. They are expected to possess skills that allow them to diagnose, inspect, maintain and repair diesel-powered vehicles and machinery.
Find Mining roles here.
Advice for employers
The skills shortage will start to ease, but it’s going to be a gradual process that will take time. So consider these actions.
- Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is a key tool in attraction and retaining the talent you need. Employee values have shifted towards progression and education, with training the main benefit that employees now value. But your employee experience is also key to making your employees happier and more productive. Developing an excellent EX not only helps workers become more productive, but it will help you win the battle for highly skilled talent in a environment that is pitting you against the largest companies in the world.
- With flexible working being a big draw card, businesses should consider their spaces and their processes to ensure teams can work effectively in this new environment. Additionally, thought needs to be given to your office space and how it can become a place that employees want to be in, instead of one that a required to attend.
- Download our Find The Right Fit report to uncover new strategies in finding those hard-to-find skills your organisation needs to gain the competitive edge.
Advice for employees
While there is still a skills shortage happening, it is starting to ease, and the economic headwinds are starting to feel unpredictable. If you’re thinking about your career trajectory, consider:
- What are your long-term career ambitions? While making quick moves to take advantage of higher remuneration can be tempting, consider if the move will help you achieve what you want. Before making any big moves, take a step back and reflect on your long-term goals and how this move could help or hinder your ability to achieve them.
- Improving your capabilities and what you can offer employers will help you stay on top. Work is changing at an increasingly rapid pace, so keep your technical skills sharp by adopting a continuous learning attitude and actively seek out skills to add to your repertoire.
- Don’t forget your soft skill development. When the market is tight, employers are accepting of the fact that they may need to do some on-the-job training if a potential employee demonstrates strength in their soft skills.