This chapter begins by summarizing some empirical studies on labour shortages in selected countries and regions. Most of the studies reported here relate to the period from 1995 to 1998, which corresponds to the period when the labour shortage indicators in this book were developed. These indicators are discussed in Chapter 5. AUSTRALIA According to the Australian Department of Employment ( 1998), skill shortages were evident in three broad occupational areas: professional occupations, which include mining engineers, selected computing professionals, registered nurses and health professionals; skilled trades, including toolmakers, boilermakers, sheet metal workers, chefs, pastry cooks and hairdressers; and service occupations such as childcare coordinators. Australia was experiencing a skills transformation as businesses rapidly changed their practices and developed new products using information technology. The rapid spread of new technology was shaping Australia's future occupational structure and the skill needs for most industries and occupations. A study in 1998 found that skill shortages in the information technology and telecommunication (IT&T) industries were being seen increasingly as a key constraint to the growth and competitiveness of industry in Australia and to the emerging information economy (Skill Shortage in Australia 's IT&T Industry, 1998). Evidence suggested that skill shortages existed for IT&T professionals with experience in certain specializations. In the long term, it would be necessary to ensure that there is an adequate supply of appropriately qualified graduates and other IT&T skilled workers to meet growth in IT&T occupations. An industry publication reported that there were worsening skills...
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