Synergies was engaged by Jobs Queensland to investigate the short to medium term shifts in the structure of labour markets in Queensland and Queensland regions, concentrating upon likely shifts in industrial and occupation employment. Results from the shift-share analysis and regional modelling were to be used by Jobs Queensland to inform labour market scenarios in upcoming detailed investigations.
The role of Jobs Queensland is to advise the State Government on anticipated skills demand and future workforce planning as well as development for industries, regions, apprenticeships and traineeships. A good understanding of future skills requirements for the Queensland economy and particular regions is essential to ensure that future economic growth is facilitated and that skills shortages or mismatches are not an impediment to growth.
In view of the above, Jobs Queensland engaged Synergies to undertake economic modelling to assist in the anticipation of future skills needs. The overall objective was to identify the critical skills and occupation shortages in Queensland, including Queensland’s nineteen statistical area level 4 (SA4) regions, to highlight shifts in industrial as well as occupational employment and outline effective strategies to address labour market gaps.
Overview of the Queensland labour market
We initially examined the Queensland labour market environment by job status, displaying the diversity within that market and highlighting the groups at most risk of adverse labour market outcomes. This was followed by an examination of broad trends in labour market supply as well as demand, including a decomposition of the trends by major occupational groups in Queensland.
The shift-share technique decomposes labour market changes to determine how much of regional job growth is attributable to factors relating to national trends, those factors relating to regional specific conditions and those factors relating to the specific industrial structure of the region in question. It is typically used to measure the existence and significance of structural shifts, in addition to answering why employment is growing/declining in a regional industry, cluster or occupation.
Using the shift-share analysis approach, the second part of the report investigated labour force employment stability in terms of industrial and occupational trends at both the Queensland level and across SA4 regions. The analysis assessed shifts in the labour market over three intervals (2002-2007, 2008- 2012 and 2013-2017, with a detailed focus on the latter two periods) to observe changes as well as movements in relative shares.
Forecasts of employment
Building on the analysis from previous sections, we then provided short term forecasts of industrial and occupation employment in Queensland and Queensland regions over the period 2018-22 using regression modelling for time series. Baseline and business as usual employment projections by industry and occupation were further assessed to yield structural change adjustment estimates and therefore demonstrate the capacity for the Queensland labour market to absorb expected demand.
Synergies provided a robust report raising a number of important policy issues based on findings from the analysis about the likely extent and causes of any mismatch between supply or demand for employment by region, industry and occupation. The analysis also identified the areas where skill development needed to be concentrated.