Release type: Joint Media Release


Inaugural report of the National Skills Commission: the Australian labour market and Covid-19


Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business
The Hon Steve Irons MP
Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships

A report released today by the National Skills Commission (NSC) shows that while the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market has been significant, some data indicates early signs of stabilisation and a small increase in the number of employers looking to hire.

The NSC is a critical new part of Australia’s economic infrastructure, providing expert advice and national leadership on the Australian labour market, current and future skills needs and workforce development issues. 

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said as we deal with COVID-19 and the impact on the economy, we need to accurately understand what is happening in the labour market, the structural shifts that will occur and the skilling and re-training needed to get people into jobs.

“The inaugural report of the NSC ‘A snapshot in time: the Australian labour market and COVID-19’ makes clear the scale of the economic challenge facing Australian workers and businesses as we plan a COVID-19 recovery.”

The report details some of the work already available by the NSC to improve and consolidate Australia’s skills forecasting capability with the future in mind – that is, with an eye to the new and emerging jobs and skills workers will need.

Minister Cash said that the NSC’s report will play an important role informing our labour market and economic recovery.

“Skills are fast becoming the new currency of labour market activity, able to provide employers, workers, students and policymakers with a wealth of useful guidance”. 

“Now more than ever, we need to understand what is happening in the labour market. The jobs lost during the pandemic will not be the same jobs Australians will return to in the COVIDSafe economy. There is evidence of structural shifts that will require jobseekers to actively reskill to meet the skills needs of employers”.

“That is why the work of the National Skills Commission is so important. Detailed and timely skills analysis and data will allow education providers to offer VET courses better tailored to current and future workforce needs of employers.

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, the Hon Steve Irons MP, said the NSC will continue to closely monitor the impact of COVID-19, using data and evidence to help shape our recovery, and with it our education and training system.

“VET is front and centre of the Australian Government’s JobMaker Plan because we recognise that boosting the skilled capability of our workforce is critical to kick-starting the national economy and ensuring our future prosperity.”

The NSC is funded as part of the Government’s $585 million skills package, Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow, which also established the National Careers Institute and new Skills Organisation pilots.