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Australian tourism workers ‘far too qualified’
More than one in three workers in Australian tourism are over-qualified for their current job, according to a new study from national training organisation SkillsIQ.
Suggesting that over-qualification costs Australian workers nationally $4 billion a year, SkillsIQ’s Right Skills. Right Time? report, says 2.5 million Australian workers spend time and money on qualifications that are not required for their current role.
SkillsIQ (formerly Service Skills Australia) is working closely with a number of people-focused sectors including the tourism industry to develop clear standards to make sure Australians have the right skills for jobs now and into the future.
The Right Skills. Right Time? report measures the gap between the required and actual skills (through qualifications) of 10 million Australian workers across 400 people-facing occupations, including tour guides, event managers and front desk.
SkillsIQ Chief Executive Yasmin King explained “in more than half of the people-facing sectors we looked at, anywhere between one in three to more than half of the workers had qualifications they didn’t need and which often failed to deliver the necessary practical skills.
“This over-qualification costs Australians $3.6 billion annually in foregone income due to time spent in unnecessary study and $555 million in superfluous tuition fees - that’s a total cost of $4.1 billion each year.
“Our research shows that it may not always be the best option for younger people to favour a higher qualification over practical work experience early in their working lives. A hotel receptionist doesn’t need an Advanced Diploma of Travel and Tourism management, they need practical VET skills.”
The survey coincides with the release of Federal Government data that reveals two thirds of students in Australian universities are dropping out, one of the highest rates ever recorded.
In addition, 30% fail to find work after graduating and 15% are still unemployed four years later.
One quarter of graduates say the university training they received was “not relevant to the job market” - a situation some people unkindly call “hobby training”.
The Australian Government study found that university students who studied creative arts, hospitality and personal services, and science and mathematics were the least likely to get a job after graduating. Those who studied medicine were the most likely to get a job, with almost 98% of graduate doctors gained employment.
The Right Skills. Right Time? report notes that the average employee turnover rate in Australian tourism was reported as 66% in 2015. Almost 70% of tourism businesses identified skill deficiencies within their workforce.
It also suggests that over-qualified staff are dissatisfied, counter-productive, take more breaks and lack the practical skills necessary to perform at work. It costs tourism business owners time and money to retrain and replace over-qualified team members who leave their jobs.
King added “four in five parents want their children to go to university rather than undertake vocational education yet nine out of the 10 jobs forecast to have the greatest growth in the next five years can be achieved through training courses provided through vocational and educational training.
“This isn’t about avoiding higher qualifications – more about making sure you’re getting the right qualifications at the right time in your career. It’s also a question of whether higher qualifications are what will give you the skills and career progression you’re looking for."
King sees the Right Skills.Right Time? report as the first step in a conversation about how we as a community address the issue of skills mismatch now and in the future.
She concluded that the “tourism sector must translate clearly defined entry requirements into the form of practical skills to address the sector’s over-qualification trend.”
Click here to view the full report.
Images: Dreamworld's staff team (top) and Yasmin King (below).
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