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Local government workforce and future skills report Victoria

Local government is a major employer within Victoria, employing over 50,900 staff spread across 290 occupations. Employment numbers are likely to increase across the sector for the next two to three years – particularly in terms of part-time employees (accounting for 40 per cent of the workforce) to cater for population growth and an ageing demographic. Local Government in Victoria (more so than other states and territories) accounts for a wide range of social services – with a growing emphasis on aged care, maternal and child health and early childhood education. Local government is a major employer in regional, rural, and remote Victoria (and is ideally placed to act as an incubator for growing apprenticeships at the local level)., Growth levels at the current magnitude have had staffing implications for councils across the state, with some key professional occupations now in high demand across the sector. Employment costs account for between 27 to 54 per cent of total council expenditure, yet the majority (55 per cent) of councils have not done any form of analysis or forecasting to determine the impact that changing technology and digital disruption will have on their workforce. Yet apprenticeship and traineeship levels in Victoria are lower than in any other state and territory, with councils saying they don’t have enough apprentices to meet future demand. There is little financial incentive for councils to take on apprentices without a wage subsidy or support from the State., The sector is faced with some key issues: It has an ageing workforce with 56 per cent of staff aged over 45 years, compared to 41 per cent for all Australian industries. 65 per cent of the outdoor workforce is aged over 45 years and the combination of a significantly-ageing outdoor workforce and physical work demands will have implications for councils. Strategies will need to be developed to ensure that older workers remain safe, healthy and productive; and Less than seven per cent of the outdoor workforce is under 30 years of age, yet turnover is low and intake of employees under 30 years is declining. The sector is also faced with critically low apprenticeship and traineeship numbers, yet 42 per cent of councils do not have enough apprentices and trainees to meet future skill needs., Councils are hindered from accessing and delivering training due to: 65.4 per cent having a lack of time to attend training; 50 per cent having difficulty sourcing local trainers; 50 per cent having difficulty sourcing courses with relevant content; and 46 per cent thinking course costs are too high – all segments agree. Budgetary constraints have exacerbated these points: 74 per cent of councils are experiencing a skills shortage – which they expect to worsen over the next couple of years; Key shortages in professional occupations at risk include Specialist Engineers, Specialist Planners, Building Surveyors, Computing ICT technicians, Project Managers, Community Development and Engagement Officers and Environmental Health Officers; and Minor shortages in technical and trade occupations in areas involving: Care Persons, Accounts/Payroll Clerks, Customer Service Workers, Supervisor/Team Leader functions, IT/ICT technicians and trades – (Horticulture, Automotive, Plumbing).