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8167.0 - Selected Characteristics of Australian Business, 2008-09 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/09/2010   
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SKILLS


Skills used in undertaking core business activities

All businesses were asked to identify the types of skills used in undertaking core business activities. The list of skills was limited to those shown in the tables; businesses were not required to list any other skills. Businesses were able to report more than one type of skill and were not asked to rank skills in order of importance.

Skills used in undertaking core business activities(a)(b), by employment size, 2008 - 09

0-4 persons
5-19 persons
20-199 persons
200 or more persons
Total
%
%
%
%
%

Engineering
11.0
13.0
16.0
35.6
12.2
Scientific and research
4.9
4.0
3.7
16.3
4.6
IT professionals
12.9
18.5
27.5
63.1
16.1
IT support technicians
14.6
24.7
33.7
59.5
19.5
Trades
24.1
30.8
30.0
38.0
26.7
Transport, plant and machinery operation
12.3
17.4
21.1
32.1
14.7
Marketing
16.3
23.1
31.5
57.0
19.8
Project management
10.5
13.9
20.7
48.1
12.6
Business management
18.1
25.2
33.2
60.5
21.7
Financial
21.3
30.7
42.0
70.9
26.1

(a) Proportions are of all businesses in each employment size category.
(b) Businesses could identify more than one type of skill used for core business activities.


Overall, trades (27%) and financial (26%) were the types of skills most widely used by businesses in undertaking core business activities. Businesses with 0-4 persons employed (24%) and 5-19 persons employed (31%) reported trades skills as the most commonly used in undertaking core business activities, while financial skills were the most commonly used by businesses with 20-199 persons employed (42%) and 200 or more persons employed (71%). Scientific and research skills were least likely to be used by businesses across all employment size ranges, at 5%.

The types of skills used across industries varied depending on the nature of work undertaken. Engineering skills were the most likely to be used in Mining (39%), while IT professionals were most commonly used by businesses in Information media and telecommunications (37%).

Innovation-active businesses were three times as likely to report use of marketing skills in undertaking core business activities than non innovation-active businesses.


Skills shortage or deficiency in undertaking core business activities

All businesses were asked if there was a shortage or deficiency in types of skills needed to undertake core business activities. The list of skills was limited to those shown in the tables; businesses were not required to list any other skills for which there may have been a shortage or deficiency. Businesses were able to report for more than one type of skill and were not required to rank the skills.

Skills shortage or deficiency in undertaking core business activities(a)(b)(c), by employment size, 2008 - 09

0-4 persons
5-19 persons
20-199 persons
200 or more persons
Total
%
%
%
%
%

Types of skill shortage or deficiency
Engineering
1.1
2.8
3.4
7.0
1.8
Scientific and research
0.7
0.9
0.6
2.4
0.8
IT professionals
1.3
3.1
3.3
4.8
2.0
IT support technicians
1.1
2.3
3.0
3.7
1.7
Trades
7.2
12.3
10.7
10.7
9.1
Transport, plant and machinery operation
0.9
1.8
3.0
3.7
1.4
Marketing
3.7
4.0
3.9
3.2
3.8
Project management
1.3
2.6
3.6
4.7
1.9
Business management
2.7
3.0
2.5
3.6
2.8
Financial
3.6
3.5
4.1
5.5
3.6

(a) Proportions are of all businesses in each employment size category.
(b) Businesses could identify more than one type of skill shortage or deficiency for core business activities.
(c) Skills not listed were not required to be reported on.


The most commonly reported type of skills shortage or deficiency in undertaking core business activities were trades, at 9%, more than double that of any other listed skills. Shortage or deficiency in engineering skills had the largest percentage point variation between employment size ranges, from 1% for businesses with 0-4 persons employed, to 7% for those with 200 or more persons employed.

The types of skills shortage or deficiency reported varied across industries. Businesses in Wholesale trade were most likely to report marketing as a skills shortage or deficiency (9%), while those in Construction were most likely to report skills shortage or deficiency in trades (23%).

Innovation-active businesses were three times as likely to report IT professionals and project management skills shortage or deficiency in undertaking core business activities than non innovation-active businesses.


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