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Planning to apply for a Skilled Occupation in Australia? Or want an overview on how the occupations are identified ? Let me tell you first how the government comes out with the Skill shortage list so you have an idea how rigorous and genuine the process is. The Department of Employment undertakes skill shortage research on an ongoing basis. This methodology is applied consistently across occupations and locations to provide information about employers’ ability to recruit the skilled workers they need.

The main feature of the skill shortage research is the Survey of Employers who have Recently Advertised or in short, SERA. SERA provides useful, relevant information about employers’ experiences recruiting skilled workers, collecting two different kinds of intelligence – the first comes from the discussions with employers and recruitment and the second is quantifiable data about employers’ recruitment experiences.

Another good news with this research is undertaken for selected occupations defined in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations. The research focuses on mammoth of occupations which are skilled . SERA is a telephone-based survey of employers who have recently advertised vacancies in selected skilled occupations to determine their experiences recruiting.

Now, enough of this knowledge, so let us talk about what do they do sitting in their offices—–

Occupations are generally assessed annually. Researchers contact employers who have recently advertised vacancies. They collect the vacancy details from a broad range of available sources, including metropolitan and regional newspapers, general employment and specialist industry/occupational internet sites as well as professional associations etc.

They work and try hard to survey an appropriate number of employers from both metropolitan and regional areas. The proportion of vacancies outside metropolitan areas depends on the state or territory’s employment profile generally, together with the profile for the particular occupation.

Cold canvassing contact is also made, where possible, with a range of large employers as well as some smaller employers to ensure that any differences in recruitment experiences are captured.

Well, it’s still not done. After all the hard work, Consultation with key associations is undertaken to discuss the findings of the research, the labour market more generally and factors impacting on skill needs.

They then move to present the findings and results even though the availability of data varies from occupation to occupation, relevant and available information including that outlined under ‘demand and supply analysis’, is considered with the comments of employers, industry contacts, educational institutions and labour market intermediaries together with SERA results, to provide commentary and ratings.

Some of the demand and supply analysis considers – industry activity statistics and projections, changes in employment (and registration) levels, vacancy trends and so on!

Occupations are then rated based on the labour market for an average experienced worker rather than a new entrant. Taking account of all available information, including the results of the SERA and the reasons for employers being unable to fill vacancies, researchers decide on an appropriate rating.

Where researchers have identified significant differences in these labour markets this is reflected in the rating.

An occupation may be assessed as being in shortage even though not all specialisations are in shortage. A rating of national shortage suggests shortages are relatively widespread, but it does not mean that employers in every geographical location have difficulty recruiting.

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