Skills for the future

How can job seekers find out more about the skills employers are seeking?

There are many places to find information about employer expectations and ways to enter the labour market, including this publication. For example, you can consult Australian Government websites such as and, as well as a range of other resources.

The skills and qualities employers are looking for will continue to evolve over time, so it is important to continuously seek out information from a range of sources to give yourself the best chance to succeed in the labour market.

What types of skills will be in demand in the near future?

There have been many different attempts to identify the skills which are likely to be in demand in the near future. The list below shows some of the skills most frequently identified by Australian companies in a recent survey conducted by the World Economic Forum. These skills are highly transferable, meaning they will be valued by many different employers across a range of industries and roles.

Emerging skills
Emerging skills
Creativity, originality and initiative
Analytical thinking and innovation
Active learning
Technology design and programming
Complex problem-solving
Critical thinking and analysis
Leadership and social influence
Emotional intelligence
Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility

How is big data affecting the information available to job seekers?

Advances in the technology available to collect, process and analyse large datasets are leading to the emergence of additional sources of information for job seekers. For example, some organisations have been developing tools to collect information from online job postings, or to crowdsource information about education, employment and wages.

While the analysis and use of these datasets is still relatively new, they can provide a useful complementary source of data alongside more traditional sources of labour market information.

What sort of information is being generated by big data?

One example of this information can be seen in recent work undertaken by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). NCVER conducted a preliminary analysis of data from Burning Glass, an organisation which collects and aggregates online job advertisements. The two case studies on the right show the types of information that might be extracted from such a dataset.

Case study: Hospitality Workers

The graph below shows part of an analysis of employability skills in online advertisements for Hospitality Workers.

It shows that employers more frequently mentioned skills such as multi-tasking, and personal qualities such as being energetic, than employers advertising for other workers. If you are considering entering the hospitality sector, you will need to think about ways you can show employers these particular skills and qualities in applications, interviews and work trials.

Selected employability skills in online job postings, Hospitality Workers and all postings (%)

SkillHospitality WorkersAll postings
Positive disposition103
Work area maintenance60

Case study: Personal Care and Support Workers

The chart below shows the top ten employability skills requested in online job postings for Personal Care Assistants or Aged and Disabled Carers.

Communication skills are critical for these occupations, with nearly half of the job advertisements mentioning them. Organisational, time management and computer skills are also frequently mentioned, suggesting these are good skills to develop and present to prospective employers if you are thinking about entering these occupations.

Top employability skills in online job postings, Personal Care and Support Workers (%)

Communication skills48
Organisational skills17
Computer skills11
Time management11
Team work/collaboration8
Problem solving6
Positive disposition4

Sources World Economic Forum, The Future of Jobs Report, 2018; NCVER, Internet job postings: preliminary analysis