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What is the State Of Talent In Australia Today?

The Australian workforce is one of the most educated, multicultural and multilingual in the world (Australian Trade Commission, 2015). In this week’s post we talk about Australia’s talent pool and take a quick look at a few of the trends influencing the workforce today.

State of Talent in Australia as of 2015:

  • With a ready supply of smart, skilled and culturally aware workers, companies can build an Australian labour force with ease. Almost 30% of Australia’s workers were born overseas. Around 2.1 million Australians speak an Asian language and 1.3 million speak a European language in addition to English. (Australian Trade Commission, 2015).

  • Australia ranks in the world’s top 10 nations for the quality of talented people it produces, attracts and retains. According to the 2014 Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI). Overall, Australia ranks 9th out of 93 countries in the 2014 rankings, up from 15th place in 2013.

  • More than 85 per cent of Australians are employed in the services sector. Almost 40 per cent of people work in sectors with a higher than industry average tertiary education (Australian Trade Commission, 2015).

  • The productivity levels of 16 out of 20 Australian industries rate above the average productivity of global competitors in the same sector. Australia is performing more than 20% above this global average in five key growth sectors including gas, education, health and tourism, and over 40 per cent in agribusiness, oil and mining (Australian Trade Commission, 2015).

  • International studies recognise the high levels of skill and education that make up Australia’s workforce. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2014–15, Australia’s secondary education enrolment rate is the world’s highest.

  • Australia also ranks second in the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report 2014, which measures a country’s investment in its people.

Trends influencing the Australian workforce:


According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, 20% of employees brought into a new role will last less than 12 months, with around 60 per cent sticking with their job for less than five years (Hay Group, 2014).

  • Organisations need to look at retention strategies.

  • Offer leave with or without pay

  • ‘Sabbatical’ leave

  • Allowing a person to return whilst this allows a person to have a break and maintain continuity of servic

Accordingly, it is important for a company to implement workplace policies to minimise retention rates. Examples of strategic workplace policies can include offering leave to employees with or without pay, ‘sabbatical’ leave and allowing employees to return after their break whilst maintaining their continuity of service.


Globalisation is re-structuring workplaces worldwide. Rapid advances in technology are swiftly altering our concepts of time and location, work and workplace, and the boundaries between organisations, markets, and the environment – this is a popular trend now seen in the Australian workforce.

Portable hardware such as smart phones and laptops, and improvements in wireless communication has enabled employees to be connected to work from virtually anywhere – Australians are now known to look for jobs elsewhere outside the country too because of this. But on the flipside, organisations are also taking advantage of this by seeking workers that wish to travel to also be employed under an Australian organisation and expand into new markets, for example an Australian manager position based in Singapore.


Work life balance is about individual choices that enable employees to manage the interaction between work and the demands of life that affect health, families and communities.

There are increasingly more Australians who care for children or elderly family members, manage work and study, seek graduated retirement or balance demanding work and life commitments. Australian workplaces are becoming a lot more flexible because of this.

Work-life strategy is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Every employee has different work-life needs. One may like to spend their time outside of work meeting up with friends or working out at the gym, while another may prefer to spend quality time with their family over dinner.

What do you think about the state of Australian talent today? Are there any trends you think could be a threat on talent? What do you think managers need to beware of in light of these?

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