Service industries to drive WAs future employment growth

  • Health care and social assistance; mining; education and training; professional, scientific and technical services; and accommodation and food services are Western Australia’s biggest growth sectors.
  • Gender differences in industries and occupations in the WA labour market will play an important role in the future labour supply. These gender differences are reflected in post-school enrolments across different fields of tertiary education.
  • The supply of overseas workers to Western Australia is volatile and likely to be met via temporary visas in the next five years.

New research has found an extra 25,500 workers will be needed to meet demand in the health care and social assistance sector within Greater Perth by 2025, outstripping mining as the biggest growth industry in the metropolitan region.

Research released from think tank the Committee for Perth shows that between November 2020 and November 2025, several industries will require a boost in staff including the mining industry which will need an additional 13,500 staff, education and training (9,000) and professional, scientific and technical services (7,500).

Committee for Perth Chief Executive Officer Marion Fulker AM said the research, based on data and employment trends over the past two decades, pointed to a shift toward service industries as the biggest employers in the State.

“The nation has shifted from being mainly a producer of primary products to being a producer of services,” Mrs Fulker said. “This has seen the rise in consumption, production, employment and exports in the services industries.”

Mrs Fulker said it was critical to prepare for the future workforce by encouraging undergraduates and apprentices into areas where there will be a greater need and providing training in industries with an ageing workforce to fill the skill void when they retire.

While health care was the growth industry in Greater Perth, mining would continue to grow fastest in the regions, with the sector expected to need another 2,700 staff by 2025. Accommodation and food services would require an additional 1,800 employees, the health sector (1,500) and education and training an additional 1,400 workers in the regions.

Additional findings from FACTBase Bulletin 79 include:

  • Occupations projected to have strong labour demand between November 2020 and November 2025 are professionals, community and personal service workers.
  • Over the next five years, agriculture, forestry and fishing, education and training, and health care and social assistance industries may lose experienced older workers as the ageing workforce transitions into retirement.
  • Occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher and a certificate II or III will have the strongest demand for workers in the same period.

FACTBase Bulletin 79 is the second of three papers to be delivered as part of the Committee’s Race to the Top major project.

Race to the Top examines current sources of labour supply in Western Australia, domestic and overseas, to identify where workers and skills are concentrated. This will include identifying factors that impact and the extent of the impact on labour supply including border restrictions, underemployment and education attainment.