Wanted: butchers, bakers but no candlestick makers?

Across Australia, there are not enough butchers to cater for the many people who want to get in for their chop.

Nor are there enough people to knead the bread for the people who need the bread – there’s a shortage of bakers.

But for some reason there’s little demand for candlestick makers.


The Australian Government has just published a list of occupations that employers are having the most difficulty in filling, and therefore potentially offer the best opportunity for finding a job.  All of them require skills and training and sometimes experience.

The professions

In the professions, there’s a national shortage of sonographers and audiologists, and also optometristoptometrists, although where you live determines your chances of getting a job staring into people’s eyes.

They’re also looking for tax accountants, and early-childhood teachers in long-day-care centres, and there’s a demand for midwives in regional areas.

You also have a good chance of employment if you’re a physiotherapist, but it seems those jobs are mostly in regional areas and you might need a specialisation.

Cadastral surveyors (which might sound like a swear word but refers to those people you see with yellow tripods measuring property boundaries) are also in short supply.

If working with animals is your thing, the community will welcome experienced veterinariansvet snake in outer- and south-western Sydney and in regional SA, WA and the NT.

It seems there’s a good supply nationally of agricultural specialists, but some of the skill needs are quite specific and the locations not always attractive, so vacancies remain.

Similarly, there are jobs for civil engineers, but usually for senior positions or in specialised roles. It may be that the downturn in mining is responsible for the large number of applicants for these sorts of jobs in WA.

In a world where age can be a barrier to employment, it’s encouraging to see that the ICT industry is looking for senior web developers, senior programmers and senior ICT security specialists. (Of course, in an industry with many young people, the term ‘senior’ may be relative. 🙂

The trades

In the trades, you’re in demand if you’re an automotive electrician, a motor mechanic or a sheet-metal worker.  Panel beaters and vehicle painters are also in short supply, which suggests you might have a long wait for repairs if you scrape your car.

Also, try not to lock yourself out – there’s a national shortage of locksmiths.tradespeopleThe construction trades in eastern Australia are also looking for skilled workers – brickies, painters, glaziers, plasterers, roof and floor tilers, and cabinet makers. Apparently there’s an oversupply in WA.

Multi-skilling has become the norm in many organisations in recent times, and now it seems that plumbers with those qualities are lacking in some states, along with gasfitters.

And those of you who think there seems to be a hairdresser on every corner might be surprised to learn there’s a national shortage of hairdressers. In case you’re tempted to take ahairdresser short cut (!) to employment, however, the Department of Employment warns that ‘employers generally consider those who hold fast-tracked hairdressing qualifications to be unsuitable’.

This is a reminder that you need to make sure that any training you do is going to be recognised by employers, and also that there are some dodgy operators out there who will make all sorts of promises while they take your money, alongside the many reputable ones.

You can contact me at Griffith University if you need advice about making the right choice.

Until next time

Darryl Dymock

C4W Project Director


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