Dept of Employment using big data to reskill Australia

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Thursday, 12 September, 2019

Dept of Employment using big data to reskill Australia

The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business has released a new paper exploring how large datasets can help job seekers transfer their existing skills to new jobs in a changing labour market.

The ‘Reskilling Australia: A data driven approach’ report suggests that moving towards a skills-based approach to labour market analysis could help Australia respond to digital disruption and allow faster and smoother job transitions for workers as skills requirements change.

According to the report, trends including new technology, globalisation and a swelling service industry driving demand for high-skills and knowledge-based jobs are converging to transform the labour market.

“These trends have altered, or likely soon will alter, the tasks and skills required for every job in the workforce,” the report states.

Using big data analytics from datasets including 2.6 million online job postings in Australia, the department has developed a “job similarity model” to help identify practical avenues to a career change.

According to the report, the new model is one of the first models of occupational transferability between each of the Australian 4-digit (Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupation (ANZSCO) occupations.

Angela Hope, who leads the Future of Work Branch in the department, said the model can help job seekers find alternative career pathways.

“We can look at occupations that are likely to decline and then map out pathways to jobs in growing sectors,” she said.

“What we have found is that most workers in declining occupations do have good transition options based on their existing skills but they may not recognise their skills can be transferred. The Skills Match tool recently released on the Job Outlook website uses this new model to provide a practical way of helping individuals navigate the changing labour market.”

By way of example, while the department projects that the number of customer information officers in Australia will shrink by 6.3% by 2023 amid the automation of customer support, tourism and travel advisers are expected to grow by 5.3% over the same period.

Information officers already possess most of the skills needed to fill these roles, and would likely only need build their sales, scheduling and negotiation skills, the report states.

An ideal job transition is both viable and desirable, the report adds. A viable job transition involves moving from one career to another that is highly similar in terms of required knowledge, skills, abilities, work activities, education levels and experience.

A desirable transition meanwhile involves transitioning to a higher-wage position in a field that is expanding rather than contracting.

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