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The most in-demand skills in 2022
Australia’s job market trends constantly evolve, with certain skills more in-demand with employers than others. Knowing what skills are needed can help guide your future career and learning plans and ensure you remain in employment. For employers, knowledge of the skills in demand can inform your workforce planning and internal training and development efforts, enabling you to upskill staff to overcome skills gaps.
Below you’ll find today’s most in demand skills. We update this list regularly in line with the latest recruitment trends to ensure you remain competitive – whether you’re looking to get hired or add to your team.
The factors driving demand
Whether driven by technological change or unexpected disruptions such as COVID-19, recruitment trends and the top skills in demand naturally evolve over time.
Right now, we’ve never seen such a candidate short job market in so many industries. Despite easing COVID-19 travel restrictions and the opening of borders, vacancy activity is elevated to the extent that it’s expected to take two years before internal and external migration curbs domestic skills shortages in certain fields. The expected departure of young Australians in 2022 for their overseas work experience will further add to the skills shortage.
At the same time, the pandemic and 2021 lockdowns prompted many people to re-evaluate their work-life priorities. As a result, record numbers plan to quit their jobs in a trend the media coined ‘The Great Resignation’. This adds to candidate-short pressure, with demand exceeding supply. Together, the resulting momentum is fuelling a long list of skills in demand.
Top five skills in demand
We’ve examined job market trends across the 27 industries and sectors we recruit within. Below are the top 5 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 exact hard or technical skills at the apex 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.
1. IT Project Managers
IT Project Managers are in greatest demand to lead digital transformation programs. Organisations of all sizes require experienced Project Managers to scope and deliver complex programs. Successful candidates work within agile frameworks, have exceptional communication skills and bridge the gap between stakeholders and non-technical experts.
2. Civil Project Engineers
Within civil construction, recruitment activity is high for Project Engineers with a civil engineering degree and previous experience as an Engineer in the construction of projects to the required specifications. With a strong pipeline of projects, and both state and federal government investment, hiring demand is increasing across the country for candidates in a market that is already experiencing skills shortages – especially for those with public sector and subdivision experience.
3. Talent Acquisition Specialists
Our recruiters report that Talent Acquisition professionals are in extremely short supply, with large organisations often looking for multiple employees at all seniority levels to support stretched teams. With organisations expanding their headcount, suitable employees must be able to successfully manage a large volume of hiring needs, use multiple channel talent attraction strategies (including industry specific talent pools), and possess strong stakeholder engagement, communication and expectation management skills. Candidates with technology discipline experience are in especially high demand as this industry grows rapidly.
4. Payroll Officers
Payroll is an area of continuous and extreme demand. While recruitment demand for many accountancy & finance skills fluctuates based on seasonal trends, payroll is required year-round. However, the shortage of suitable talent pushes this job into the top 5 of skills in demand nationally. When they recruit, employers look for Payroll Officers with relevant systems knowledge and experience working on implementations or improvements. They also look for proven experience working with a similar volume of employees, and an understanding of the relevant industry awards.
5. HD Fitters
Australia’s mining sector is experiencing skills shortages thanks to high exploration activity, new mines, increased production and competition with the construction industry for top talent. In highest demand are HD Fitters with previous experience on Caterpillar, Komatsu and Liebherr equipment. Our recruiters report a preference from employers for trade qualified heavy diesel labour, although some will employ a candidate with a light vehicle qualification provided they have HD experience. Field service experience is preferred.
Other skills in demand
Significant demand exists for Software Developers as organisations look to improve their customer facing digital channels. While the languages, frameworks and products vary from organisation to organisation, proven experience in React, Node or Kotlin is particularly sought after now. In addition to technical skills, organisations want well-rounded candidates with strong problem solving and communication skills, too.
Executive and Personal Assistants
Executive and Personal Assistants are in demand across most industries, but especially financial services and technology, as well as in change teams. These professionals act as gatekeepers for their Partners and Directors and therefore must be able to make quick decisions on their executive’s behalf, prioritise tasks and determine who their executive spends their time with (both virtually and face-to-face).
Our recruiters reveal that demand is highest for candidates who adapt to change, think outside the box and use the latest technology to implement an efficient process. Employers expect a candidate to have experience preparing board reports, taking minutes, generating and distributing reports, formatting presentations and proposals, providing IT support and fulfilling general HR and office management functions in an organisation.
Mine Engineers are also in high demand but short supply in today’s recruitment market. Employers require degree qualified candidates with at least five or more years of previous mining experience. At present, underground operations have higher staffing needs than surface operations thanks to the strong gold price and a surge in battery mineral commodities (copper, nickel and lithium).
Mid-level marketeers with a communications speciality are in high demand to develop relationships between a brand, the media and the public. Candidates must be experts in public relations, media relations and corporate affairs, with exceptional writing skills and an ability to operate in a fast-paced environment.
Boilermakers, Fabricators and Welders
Boilermakers, Fabricators and Welders are needed in response to an increase in Australian manufacturing and reduced imports. However, there is a shortage of candidates locally. Traditionally, international contractors helped meet staffing demand, but it will take time - if ever - before opening of borders eases this skills shortage. Add the lack of apprenticeships in 2020 and 2021 attributable to the pandemic, and the supply of skilled and available tradespeople remain significantly low. Ideally, employers require a candidate with a Certificate III in Engineering (fabrication trade), post apprenticeship experience and the ability to perform MIG and TIG fabrication.
Clinical Research Associates
Given Australia’s COVID-19 response, and limited impact on trial activities, our nation has become a hive for clinical research. As a result, international organisations have redirected their research efforts here, and Clinical Research Associates remain in high demand across the industry. Candidates with direct onsite and field experience are preferred over those with only remote monitoring experience; the latter have limited exposure to key opinion leaders and management, site staff and field-based activities.
To attract a suitable CRA, our recruiters report that employers are offering higher salary packages, sign-on bonuses and greater flexibility, including work from home arrangements or the opportunity to work in a regional capacity to limit travel requirements. Oncology experience remains highly sought after and a major advantage to any candidate. In addition, phase I experience is attractive as more small biotech trials take place.
Civil Designers with experience in structural and hydraulics engineering or residential subdivisions are experiencing high recruitment demand. An increase in infrastructure and residential land development projects in several locations has seen work volumes and therefore candidate needs rise. Organisations require talent with experience using relevant software packages, especially Civil 3D and 12D, ideally coupled. A Bachelor of Engineering is advantageous, but not essential.
Digital Producers with experience project managing digital content, production, quality assurance and campaign delivery are in high demand. Job candidates must possess excellent stakeholder management skills and be able to communicate project needs across product, marketing, sales and web design teams. The ability to navigate content management software (CMS), check and test each production before launch, and ensure teams deliver on time and within brand frameworks is essential.
Talent with proven experience managing digital production across departments in medium to large organisations is preferred. Ideally, candidates must have a background in marketing, however it is more important to be an outstanding digital designer, CMS user and manager of numerous product releases simultaneously. Video editing or virtual content delivery experience is advantageous.
Mechanical Fitters are in high demand at present. When recruiting for this job, employers require trade qualified candidates with experience in heavy industrial, mining or pumps, including maintenance. Electrical experience is highly advantageous. Given supply shortages, pay rates are increasing as the candidate market tightens.
Commercial Contract Administrators
Within commercial, civil and residential construction, recruitment demand is high for Contract Administrators with previous experience. Ideally, hiring managers want a degree-qualified candidate, however those who possess both a tertiary qualification and a trade qualification are highly regarded.
We are also seeing high recruitment demand for Estimators with broad experience in residential and civil construction. We expect a pickup in multi-residential construction to further add to this jobs demand.
Carpenters with exposure to commercial builds and fitouts are required in today’s recruitment market, as are those who can formwork and concrete. Residential carpenters are also required for home and high-rise projects. Experience in framing and roofing is highly regarded. With project deadlines continuing to tighten, our recruiters report that hiring demand exceeds supply.
Inhouse Legal Counsels are in high demand across Australia, especially in larger organisations. While recruitment demand exists across industries, it is greatest in financial services, mining, construction and technology. Given candidate shortages, relevant industry experience is not essential. Talent at the mid to senior level is in shortest supply, especially those with private practice training and contract expertise.
There is a shortage of reliable and committed Storespersons for jobs who can work overtime and possess a forklift ticket and any other relevant tickets the hiring employer requires, such as gantry crane, working at heights and RF scanning. Warehouse exposure and the ability to work in busy environments are expected, as is inventory system knowledge, such as SAP.
Demand is high for Forklift Operators to move bulk materials and goods in the warehouse and logistics sector. Ongoing labour shortages will keep demand high for the foreseeable future.
Ticketed Crane Operators
Manufacturing and distribution companies face a shortage of trained, ticketed and skilled Crane Operators with a truck license. These candidates are essential to load and unload stock for delivery.
Commercial Analysts with business partnering skills are in extremely high demand. Employers request candidates who can liaise effectively across departments and achieve the buy-in of non-finance colleagues. Such business partnering skills are non-negotiable and valued as highly as a CA/CPA qualification.
Accounts Receivable professionals are required to ensure all debtors ledgers are reduced. Strong communications skills and a hunger to achieve KPIs are essential.
HV Primary Design Engineers
The high number of grid connection projects for power generation assets is driving up demand for Primary Design Engineers. These professionals design the primary components of electrical substations, which connect assets to the grid. Employers require candidates with technical knowledge of the primary design of substations in Australia and previous experience working on substation projects for a major electrical utility company.
Freight Forwarders with experience working for a freight forwarder rather than a shipping company are needed in today’s recruitment market. For this job, candidates must possess specific software experience, such as Cargowise, pending job import or export experience and air or sea freight experience.
Early Childhood Teachers
There is a shortage of Early Childhood Teachers with a solid knowledge of the EYLF and National Quality Framework, as well as strong communication skills and the ability to work in a team setting.
National Account Managers
FMCG and consumer goods companies have high recruitment demand for National Account Managers. When recruiting for such jobs, employers look for candidates who have managed national accounts for a similarly sized organisation and have led the Coles, Woolworths, Independents or eCommerce account. However, most candidates in the market with such experience are instead looking for career progression into a National Business Manager role and are not interested in a lateral move. With only a small pool of National Account Executives who possess the experience required to step up into National Account Manager jobs, recruitment demand continues to far outweigh supply. Consequently, any National Account Manager with the appropriate experience who is open to a lateral move can leverage a strong pay rise.
Recruitment demand has increased for technical Facilities Managers with an engineering or trade qualification in addition to a thorough understanding of mechanical and electrical services to reduce contractor spend. Jobs for Facilities Managers are becoming more strategic, with professionals called upon to navigate unprecedented challenges, such as ensuring a safe return to the office and the practical implementation of hybrid working. As a result, market demand remains high.
High School Mathematics and Science Teachers
Mathematics Teachers and Science Teachers in physics and chemistry are in high demand at present. Hiring managers require candidates with experience teaching at the HSC level, or equivalent, along with excellent communication and presentation skills, strong assessment and curriculum knowledge, and the technology skills required to teach remotely during lockdowns.
Urban and Town Planners
Within the architecture sector, there is huge demand for Urban and Town Planners with a background in large-scale planning for medium to high density residential developments and public space development. Both public and private sector experience is sought, although demand is higher for candidates with a strong understanding of Local Government standards and requirements. Experience using Revit is preferred.
Procurement Specialists with a broad skillset and exposure to a variety of categories are in short supply. Demand is high as organisations look to reduce costs and increase operating efficiencies. Recruitment demand exists for generalists who can work across a broad variety of subject matter and drive procurement outcomes, regardless of the category of spend. In addition, strong virtual stakeholder engagement skills are expected. Such niche skills are in short supply.
In a regional trend, Procurement Consultants are needed for Federal Government roles. Candidates require experience leading complex and large-scale tenders, from solution design through to contract award. Roles are based onsite, with projects often involving the establishment of outsourced procurement contracts and new panel contracts for ICT or service-based agreements, and the incorporation of current panels to maximise efficiencies. Those with NV1 clearance or defence experience are favoured.
A shortage of experienced and licenced Truck Drivers exists nationally, from medium rigid licence through to heavy combination. Truck Drivers are sought for a range of roles, including multi-drop deliveries and longer haul. An exemplary driving history and reliability are essential.
Customer Service Representatives
Customer Service Representatives are in high demand in call centres, however very particular skills are sought. Hiring managers look for candidates with previous customer service experience in a high-volume, fast-paced environment. Candidates must also possess excellent computer skills. Confidence, a professional phone manner, an ability to work under pressure and a genuine passion for helping people are all necessary. In greatest demand are Customer Service Representatives with financial services, manufacturing, FMCG or medical supplies/devices industry experience. Retail and hospitality experience is in short supply. Graduates are required for entry-level financial services roles and candidates at all levels are needed for temporary assignments.
Telesales professionals remain in high demand for both permanent jobs and temporary assignments. Given the competitive candidate market, some businesses are offering incentives and non-financial rewards to motivate and retain staff. There is also a strong focus on culture and team cohesion to drive retention.
Property Managers/Lease Consultants
Finally, Commercial Property Managers and Lease Consultants with proven experience in acquisitions and leasing are sought to fulfil multiple functions. The general decentralisation of CBD workforces has added to market demand for those who can demonstrate previous success in relocating, downsizing and managing tenancies. While demand has reduced for large CBD office space, many businesses want to retain CBD headquarters, albeit on a smaller scale with potentially multiple suburban satellite offices. This is a complex tapestry to untangle. Add COVID-19 cleans, rebates and rent deferments, along with a requirement to manage additional asset classes (particularly industrial, which is strong), and demand for suitable candidates is high.
A shortage of skilled Stonemasons and apprentices is hindering the stone industry. Few apprentices are attracted to this traditional trade, yet good jobs are available in the heritage and residential (particularly kitchen bench top) stone industries.
Advice for employers
If you need to recruit candidates in short supply, our advice is to firstly review and promote your EVP. Undertake workforce planning to understand your skills requirements, conduct a skills gap analysis, and consider how you can upskill existing staff to fill gaps. Make use of temporary workers to alleviate the pressure short-term until a new permanent team member can be sourced.
Of course, a competitive salary and benefits package is essential. So, too, is keeping on top of job market trends. As we’ve seen from the data in our Hays Salary Guide, career progression opportunities, training and ongoing learning and development are very important to candidates, and can differentiate you from other employers in the race for top talent. Other increasingly common benefits include over 20 days of annual leave, mental health and wellness programs and payment of professional membership fees.
For roles that were completed remotely during lockdowns, hybrid working is no longer viewed as a benefit – it’s expected. After all, candidates believe that if they were required to work remotely during lockdowns, they should be able to do so long term. Consequently, organisations that don’t offer regular hybrid working now struggle to attract top talent.
Advice for job candidates
Your skills may be in demand, but preparation plays a key role in your ability to secure a new job today. Update your CV and LinkedIn profile, prepare concrete evidence of your achievements to share in your CV and interviews and plan your job search.
It’s also important to upskill regularly to stay on top of the latest job market trends in your field. If you haven’t already done so, set career goals so you have a clear plan of action to work towards to achieve your development needs and career ambitions.
Be realistic in your salary expectations by understanding typical salaries for your role in relation to the latest job market trends. Salaries are increasing for skills in demand, but only so far – there is an expectation gap between what professionals expect and employers can offer. Therefore, consider whether non-financial benefits can bridge the divide. Talk to your recruitment consultant if you are unsure about your salary expectations or the latest recruitment trends.
Finally, make sure you take care of your mental health & wellbeing at work and throughout your jobs search.