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Victorian employer skills survey

Gathering insights about skills needs, recruitment, and training impacts experienced by employers.

The next Victorian Employer Skills Survey is due to run in 2024.

The Victorian Employer Skills Survey (VESS) gathers insights from Victorian businesses about:

  • recruitment experiences and challenges
  • current or anticipated future skill gaps and whether training is being used
  • employer perceptions of the accessibility and quality of training and its impact.

Insights help the Victorian Government to assess skills demand and form strategies to respond. The results inform the development of the Victorian Skills Plan and improvements to Victoria’s TAFE and training system.

Survey approach

The last VESS was conducted by the Victorian Skills Authority (VSA) in 2021.

A sample of 70,000 Victorian workplaces were invited to take part in the survey. This sample included a cross-section of Victorian businesses of different sizes, and from different industries and geographic locations. The response rate was 20.5% or 11,321 employers.

2021 survey results

View a summary of insights from the 2021 survey below.

Summary of key findings – VESS 2021

A infographic summarising results from the study.
VESS survey 2021
Summary of key findings – VESS 2021

Business climate

Employers’ business outlook for the year ahead provides an indication of cautious confidence.

Anticipated change in business size in the next 12 months (2022).

33% will grow.

56% will remain the same size.

5% will contract.

Workforce and recruitment

In the past 12 months, 57% of employers in Victoria faced challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the most common being adapting to new ways of working (45%), followed by difficulty in retaining staff (26%).

55% of employers experienced recruitment difficulties, either in finding candidates with the right skills (47%) or in finding job-ready candidates (37%).

Skills shortages

16% of Victorian employers reported that they had experienced skills shortages in the past 12 months and 21% anticipated they would experience skills shortages in the coming year.

Of those saying they had experienced skill shortages in the past 12 months:

73% reported a lack of technical skills.

50% reported they lack staff with the right skills.

47% reported a lack of job-ready skills.

Training usage and quality

In 2021, 61% of Victorian employers engaged in some form of staff training, with internal training more commonly used across industries compared to external training.

Levels of satisfaction with external training providers was high amongst employers. However, employers experiencing a skills shortage were less satisfied with various aspects of the training than other employers.

Apprentices and trainees

24% of Victorian employers reported engaging an apprentice

18% of Victorian employers reported engaging a trainee

Employers continue to make use of apprentices and trainees to assist them in filling the skills pipeline.

Uptake was more common among large businesses, in regional areas and amongst employers experiencing technical skills shortages.

Skill sets

61% of Victorian employers would consider training that focussed on skillsets (rather than a full qualification) to upskill an existing employee.

Reasons why:

56% refreshes or updates skills.

41% takes less time.

39% is more targeted.

Download Summary of key findings – VESS 2021

Access survey results

View the dashboard or download summary infographics reports for Victorian regions and industries.

Summary infographics

Download a summary infographic report of the survey data in PDF or accessible Word format. The reports are broken down into categories based on industry, Department of Education regions, and regional partnerships geographies. View all reports below.

Past survey results

Visit results from past surveys:

Reviewed 25 September 2023

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