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Local government workforce and future skills report Western Australia

The way we do business, connect, socialise, travel, and live is changing. The world of work in the next two decades will be shaped by technological advances, digital connectivity, globalisation, the ageing population and emerging economic structures. These five mega trends are driving the speed of change and are expected to lead to the restructuring of labour markets throughout Australia, including local government. Local government is already feeling the impact of these trends; yet the majority of local governments in Western Australia have not done any form of analysis or forecasting to determine the changing future roles/skills required., This report is underpinned by data obtained from the National Local Government Skills Shortage Survey 2017 (the Survey) to which 37 per cent of Western Australian local governments responded. Findings from the Survey reveal: 47 per cent of local governments were experiencing a skill shortage and skill gaps; Building Surveyors, Environmental Health Officers, Engineers, Town Planners and Plant Operators were the top five areas of skills shortage; The key reasons behind the skills shortage are: the inability of councils to compete with the private sector on remuneration, lack of suitably qualified/experienced candidates, and remoteness/location making it difficult to attract and retain workers; 72 per cent of local governments have unmet training needs, higher than any other state/territory in Australia arising from: lack of training available locally, lack of/limited number of courses on offer in Western Australia, lack of providers in Western Australia, and the courses that are available are city based and not available on-line; and The greatest challenge faced by local governments in Western Australia is remoteness, which creates major issues around access and affordability of training and local governments ability to recruit and retain staff., Emerging issues identified include: 86 per cent of local governments have done no analysis or forecasting of changing roles/skills requirements arising from digital disruption and technology changes; All local governments responding to the survey indicated the need to improve their position in relation to soft skills, particularly novel and adaptive thinking, new media literacy, ability to work productively, drive engagement and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team; and Training availability and budgetary and time constraints were the most commonly cited factors hindering staff gaining softs skills., Within this context this report seeks to highlight the current and future skill needs of the local government sector within Western Australia and suggests some strategies for improving future workforce capacity and capability.