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Media release: Research-intensive universities critical to skilling Australia’s future workforce

Research-intensive universities critical to skilling Australia’s future workforce

The first Annual Jobs and Skills Report released today by Jobs and Skills Australia confirms the key role of our universities in ensuring Australia’s future prosperity and economic growth.  

The report marks a significant milestone in securing Australia’s future workforce through a National Roadmap.

According to the 2023 Skills Priority List, Australia’s skills shortage is getting worse, not better, with 36% of occupations assessed in shortage – up from 31% last year – including engineering, health, and ICT, all areas in which the Group of Eight has released reports.  

“Australia’s workforce crisis is building to catastrophic levels in some sectors and we need the advanced skills taught in our universities. Rapid technological change across all sectors of the economy has resulted in unprecedented demand for a highly skilled workforce,” said Go8 Deputy Chief Executive Dr Matthew Brown.  

“To unlock Australia’s potential, we need to ensure Australians are equipped with the knowledge, skills and capabilities we need now and into the future.  Our research-intensive universities will play a critical role in this mission. The report emphasises that ‘universities are the research and innovation backbone of Australia’.

“Collectively the Go8 is responsible for 70 per cent of the university sector’s research and graduates more than 110,000 students each year, including training high quality future employees – doctors, engineers, lawyers, graduates in AI, space, quantum computing and cyber security – all of whom are in high demand from existing and emerging industries.

“It is an economic certainty that research and innovation will be at the heart of driving productivity gains and secure employment for the nation, as well as underpinning digital transformation and the transformation to a clean energy future. It is essential that the national roadmap includes the integration of world-leading research capability and capacity into Australia’s future workforce.

“Pleasingly, the report also acknowledges the need to combine the work of the Universities Accord to produce a whole of government and whole of nation approach to our future workforce.

“The Group of Eight will work with the JSA, industry and business to support the development of national roadmap to deliver the current and future skilled workforce we need and boost the nation’s productivity and economic prosperity.”

Contact: Dr Matthew Brown, Group of Eight Deputy Chief Executive on +61 422 937 663