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Victorian Employer Skills Survey

Providing insights into skills needs, recruitment, and training interactions and impacts experienced by employers.

The 2021 Victorian Employer Skills Survey results are now available!

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

  • the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on skills gaps, business operations and productivity
  • 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.

New questions for the 2021 survey asked employers about their use of apprenticeships or traineeships, the value of skill sets, student work placements and COVID-19 related issues.

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 Victorian Skills Authority (VSA) conducted the 2021 Victorian Employer Skills Survey between August and November 2021.

A sample of 70,000 Victorian workplaces were invited to take part in the 2021 survey. This sample reflected the composition of Victorian businesses across industry, business sizes and geographic locations. The response rate was 20.5 per cent or 11,321 employers.

2021 Survey results

You can now view key summary insights from the 2021 survey.

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 per cent will grow.

56 per cent will remain the same size.

5 per cent will contract.

Workforce and recruitment

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

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

Skills shortages

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

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

73 per cent reported a lack of technical skills.

50 per cent reported they lack staff with the right skills.

47 per cent reported a lack of job-ready skills.

Training usage and quality

In 2021, 61 per cent 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 per cent of Victorian employers reported engaging an apprentice

18 per cent 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 per cent 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

Downloadable infographic reports in PDF and accessible word format depict survey results by Industry, DET region and Regional Partnerships geographies.

  • Victoria, Metropolitan Melbourne, and Regional Victoria
  • Regions defined by the Department of Education and Training (DET)
  • Regional Partnership areas defined by Regional Development Victoria (RDV)
  • Industries capturing all activity across the Victorian economy.

Past survey results

See results from past surveys:

Reviewed 07 September 2022

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