Outcome 3

World-class skills and talent

The ability of Australian services exporters to compete internationally is contingent on the talent, skills and qualifications of their people. In the services sector, the proportion and importance of human capital as an input is much greater than for goods sectors, like manufacturing. Hence, having people with the right skills and experience matters.

It is vital that Australia’s workforce is skilled to meet the needs of our services industries. On the one hand, maintaining the high quality of the Australian education system and continuing to improve Australia’s ability to produce world-class graduates is important. This also includes incentivising students to study in fields with better job prospects and building strong relationships between universities and industry.

On the other hand, in a dynamic and fast-changing global economy, there will continue to be skill gaps in Australia’s domestic workforce. Both permanent and temporary skilled migration is critical to filling those gaps and to ensure that our services sector is internationally competitive.

OECD analysis of migration megatrends to 2035 warns that competition between countries to attract and retain skilled migrants could intensify as living standards in emerging economies increase, boosting their appeal for talented individuals.

Getting the best overseas talent to fill skill gaps for Australian services exporters requires continual refinement to the accessibility and promotion of our immigration programs. Australia’s skilled migration program settings are agile and can be adjusted to respond to the changing needs of the Australian economy as we recover from COVID-19.

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