May 2022

Women: the solution to Australia’s jobs crunch

Australia is facing a critical labour and skills shortage. The National Skills Commission forecasts an additional 1.2 million workers will be needed to fill our skills gaps by 2026.

Migration has been suggested as one way to meet current and future skills gaps however, new research conducted for Chief Executive Women (CEW Australia), says the answer could already be here. The research conducted by Impact Economics suggests we already have a skilled and chronically underutilised workforce – Australian women.

Australian women engage in 43% less paid work than Australian men, and wages in female dominated industries remain below those of men in male dominated industries.

The report suggests that closing the wage gap could add an extra 1 million full-time equivalent workers with post-school qualifications. However, the shift will require a number of reforms to lift female participation such as:

  • Investing in well-paid, secure jobs in care sectors;
  • Expanding the Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave scheme for all parents;
  • Making quality early childhood education and care accessible and affordable and
  • Making workplaces safe from sexual harassment.

Since 2006, Australia has dropped from 13th to 70th place in the World Economic Forum’s gender equity scorecard on female economic participation. 

Today, real reform and investment is needed to help Australia climb back up the rankings and unlock an obvious source of economic growth, and in turn, greater prosperity for all Australians.

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