The Jobs and Skills Summit (the Summit) will bring together Australians, including unions, employers, civil society, and government, to discuss our shared economic challenges and propose both immediate and long-term solutions. The goal of the Summit is to find common ground on how Australia can build a bigger, better trained and more productive workforce; boost real wages and living standards; and create more opportunities for more Australians.
Australia’s economy and labour market face complex challenges. While the unemployment rate is at historic lows, a tight labour market has also brought challenges including widespread and acute skill shortages. Even before COVID-19, nominal wage growth had been weak and real wages had not risen significantly for around a decade. The ongoing effects of COVID-19, high inflation, rising interest rates, global economic uncertainty and disrupted supply chains further compound these challenges, which are holding back the potential of our economy and country.
At the same time, there is a huge opportunity to maximise jobs and opportunities from the increasing use of renewable energy, tackling climate change, digitalisation, growth in the care economy and developing our advanced manufacturing capabilities. If we work together to address these opportunities and challenges, we can meaningfully increase living standards for more Australians.
The Summit will cover five broad themes:
- Maintaining full employment and growing productivity.
- Boosting job security and wages.
- Lifting participation and reducing barriers to employment.
- Delivering a high-quality labour force through skills, training and migration.
- Maximising opportunities in the industries of the future.
Throughout the Summit there will be a strong overarching focus on women’s experiences of the labour market and ensuring women have equal opportunities and equal pay.
This Issues Paper outlines the labour market challenges associated with these five themes. It is intended to provide Summit participants and the broader community with a common understanding of these issues so that we can begin working towards solutions to our shared economic challenges and ensure the labour market delivers good outcomes for all.
The Summit is the first stage in the process. Ideas raised at the Summit may also be explored further through the White Paper on Employment (the White Paper), which will map a comprehensive blueprint for Australia’s future labour market.