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The demand for skilled workers across Australia’s primary professional occupations has increased according to a recent study.

The Clarius Skill Index showed a shortage of 2,300 skilled labour in the June quarter, compared to an oversupply of 15,000 in the March quarter.

The report shows a strong demand for senior practitioners in engineering, corporate services, ICT, sales, marketing and accountants, particularly in auditing.

Clarius, CEO Kym Quick said the relative labour strength indicates job growth in the Australian economy, primarily in highly-skilled occupations. However, despite the figures negative consumer and business confidence is hindering further growth and opportunity.

The GFC and its aftershocks have certainly dampened the hiring decisions of Australian organisations, despite economic indicators continually painting a more positive picture,” she said.

“The good news from this past quarter is that we have seen an upward trend in candidate demand across all skilled labour sectors and this should continue as long as there are some consecutive months of consistency and stability. Many organisations are looking to 2013 as the year for growth,” she added.

Quick said while the demand for managers has increased, companies are struggling to find quality talent.

“In the past six months there has also been solid growth in demand for corporate services managers and that’s a sign that organisations are going into growth mode and need top quality managers to help them achieve it,” she said.

“While there is demand, many companies are finding it hard to recruit good quality candidates. On one hand they have higher expectations now they’re moving into growth phases and on the other hand, candidates are simply not job hunting given the uncertain economic conditions,” she added.

According to Quick, post GFC the economic cycle has resulted in some fundamental shifts in the labour market.

“Work ethic has come back into play. Employers are more aware how important it is for a person to put in the hard yards when they’re needed,” she said.

Key findings from the report:

  • Demand for skilled ICT professionals hits extreme levels, with shortage worsening by about 50 percent over the previous March quarter;
  •  Engineers are Australia’s most ‘in demand’ workers with 8,564 shortage;
  • Shortage of accountants doubles – from 1,500 in March quarter to 3,800 in June – as companies focus on stability and long-term viability.