Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Workforce Development Starter Tool

The NISC will be talking about their workforce development starter tool at the 2008 Industry e-learning forum in Sydney on Wednesday 26 November. They invited feedback on the initial version of the tool, so I had a look at it.

The first problem I had was discovering what the "
National Industry Skills Council" was. It was easy enough to find the tool itself, but there is no link from the tool home page to the organisation sponsoring it, nor is the name of the organisation in the text of the web page. It took several web searches to realise that I should be looking for the "National Industry Skills Committee", not "Council" (as listed on the e-learning forum program).

The next problem was working out what the tool did. The login page just says:
This web-based tool comprises a series of dynamic and interactive screens, which enable the user to enter basic information about their organisation to receive summary details about potential factors impacting on their workforce.
This could be a generic description of just about any computer program. What sort of information do you enter about your organisation? What factors impacting on the workforce are reported? There did not seem to be any way to find out without registering.

The registration screen required the usual information and required entering visually displayed security text. There was no audio alternative to the visual code for people who couldn't see it, which may breech Australian disability legislation. Apart from that the application looked as though it would be reasonably accessible (although I did not conduct formal tests). Graphics can be switched off to speed the application and it looks like it would work well on a smartphone.

I filled in the registration form and an activation email arrived a minute or so later. The system then provided a little more information about what it was for:

The NISC Online Workforce Development Starter Tool is intended to assist enterprises and employers in planning for the skills needs of their future workforce. ...
More useful for an overview of the application was the well designed menu:
My Organisation
What Things Affect My Workforce?

My Current Workforce

If I Change Nothing, Where am I Heading?
My Workforce Concerns
My Desired Future Workforce

My Potential Workforce Gaps
Good Practice Recommendations
Print My Workforce Report
My Profile
Links Page
However, it was still not clear to me why I should type information about my company into this system, if I could trust the people providing the system, or what I would get out of it. But as my company has only one employee (me) I felt I had little to be lost. ;-)

A My Organisation page then asks for some details about the organisation's employees. This is easy enough to fill in, except for the occupations, which are selected from an excessively long pull down menu. This would be very difficult to fill in for a large organisation. Saving the page takes a few seconds.

Then a What Things Affect My Workforce? page is displayed. This lists a series of issues which might be considered. You then check a box to remove the irrelevant ones. An example is:
Impacts of Globalisation on Skill Demand: The rise of the global economy has meant that companies are not only increasingly competing for customers the world over but are also competing for resources that may originate anywhere in the world, including skilled staff. Australia’s powerful skilled migration program is an example of this global competition. By 2006, the Federal Government had increased the number of skilled migration visa places available nine times consecutively over the period from 1998/99 to 2006/07. Department of Immigration and Citizenship Statistics ...
The "click to remove" interface was a little unnatural and I found myself click the items I wanted. The bottom of the screen offered to print a customised report (presumably of the selected items) or downloading an Australian Workforce Environment Report (whatever that is).

The next screen was "My Current Workforce ・Overview", which allowed the qualifications and current training opportunities of the staff to be entered. At this point I started to see what the application was for. It seems to be well designed for leading someone through the process of assessing the training needs of their staff. Also I noticed that the steps I was being taken through were the same and the same sequence as the menu, which is useful.

I decided to skip to the end and produced a "My Workforce Report". One problem is that the menu item is labelled "Print My Workforce Report", but I didn't want to print the report, just generate an electronic document. In any case that is what the menu option did: generating a reasonably formatted web page suitable for printing. The report could be improved by removing the excessive formatting so it could be copied and pasted into a word processor or a web based system. It looks a little odd with blog formatting, but is still readable:

Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd Ltd Workforce Development Report
04 Nov 2008
Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd Profile:
The following details were entered into the Workforce Development Starter Tool as characteristics of the Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd workforce.

Education Industry
Small business (less than 20 employees)
100% workforce in ACT
Key skill groups:
  • ICT Business Analyst
Factors Potentially Impacting on the Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd workforce:
An important step in considering your future workforce requirements is understanding the environment in which your organisation operates and the factors and issues which may impact on your organisation's future.
Given the information which you entered in the online Workforce Development Starter Tool, the following factors have been identified as potentially impacting on the Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd.
Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd may wish to consider how or if these factors are likely to affect the Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd future workforce.
Because of...You should consider...
Impacts of Globalisation on Skill Demand: The rise of the global economy has meant that companies are not only increasingly competing for customers the world over but are also competing for resources that may originate anywhere in the world, including skilled staff. Australia’s powerful skilled migration program is an example of this global competition. By 2006, the Federal Government had increased the number of skilled migration visa places available nine times consecutively over the period from 1998/99 to 2006/07.Department of Immigration and Citizenship Statistics
Future Employment Growth by Skill-Level: Employment is expected to grow more quickly in higher skilled occupations than in lower skilled occupations. High employment growth is forecast in high-skill occupations (managers and administrators, professionals and associate professionals). In advanced clerical and service and trades, a decline is forecast, although in the trades the decline is marginal. In all other occupations, the forecast is for relatively moderate growth. Consequently, the occupational profile is expected to shift towards high-skill occupations. By 2016, more Australians will be employed as associate professionals than tradespersons.National Training Reform Taskforce Report

Ageing Australian Workforce (2): The Workforce Tomorrow publication, produced by DEWR, provides projections on the impacts of population ageing for the Australian workforce by state/territory, industry, region and occupation, and can be found at the following link:

Workforce Tomorrow Report
Australian States & Territories - Labour Market Overview - The Australian Jobs 2007 publication, produced by the Department of Employment and Workforce Relations, provides comprehensive information about the Australian labour market for each state/territory: including employment trends over the past 5 years, projected employment growth by industry and workforce profile characteristics.Click on the link below to access this publication.Australian Jobs Report 2007
Impact of Skill Shortages on Business Innovation: A national survey of 492 CEO's in the manufacturing, services and construction sectors examines the extent to which skill shortages are restricting the capacity of Australian businesses to be innovative. The survey results also highlight the extent of skill shortages within industry sectors and by occupations. Click on the following link to access this report.AIG & Deloitte National CEO Survey (April 2008)

Broad Industry Growth Trends: On an industry basis, the same broad industries which accounted for most job growth over the past ten years (construction, business services, community and health services, and tourism, retail and recreation) are projected to do likewise for the next decade.

Access Economics Report

Key Workforce Trends: Over the coming years, demographic, socio-political, technological and economic changes will lead to a dramatic shift in the make-up of the workforce. Trends that will influence the way organisations recruit and retain key talent in the future include: A smaller pool of talent from which to recruit for key positions; an increasingly global market for new talent; an increasingly virtual workplace; a vastly diverse workforce – in terms of age, race and culture; and a workforce with independent access to information about their own and other organisations. Click on the following link to access the Hewitt report on Next-Generation Talent Management - Insights on How Workforce Trends are Changing the Face of Talent Management.

Hewitt Report

Education Industry Profile: The Education industry in Australia is significant in size. It accounts for 720,000 jobs and has experienced average jobs growth over the past five years (over 72,000 new jobs). Most of this growth has been concentrated in the schools sector although some has also occurred in the pre and post-schooling education sectors. Employment growth is anticipated to moderate over the next five years with about 33,200 expected to be created over that time period. The Education industry has an ageing workforce with almost half of its employees over the age of 45 years. This is a significant issue for this industry with a strong need for it to find workers to replace those retiring over the next two decades.

DEWR Report 2007

Education Workforce Trends: The Education industry and its workforce face major challenges in the coming years. Participation in post-compulsory education has been increasing for some time, placing greater demands on the existing workforce and generating the need for more educators across the country. Most States and Territories are known to be suffering form acute shortages of school teachers, particularly in regional areas where living conditions may not be considered as attractive as those on offer in metropolitan areas. The Australian Education Union has proposed a number of strategies to address these shortages in regional areas:

· Monetary incentives;

· Availability of adequate subsidised housing;

· Paid travel including the provision of vehicles;

· Additional leave entitlements for travel and training;

· Targeted professional development programs for country teachers;

· Promotion opportunities;

· Guaranteed return to metropolitan areas;

· Incentives to remain in rural and remote areas.

AEU A National Teacher Shortage

The top five occupations in the industry include:

Primary School Teachers 140,800 people
Secondary School Teachers 128,700 people
Teachers’ Aides 54,500 people
University Lecturers and Tutors 38,800 people
Music, Dance and Other Teachers 25,500 people

Monash University forecasts average per annum growth between 2007/08 and 2014/15 as follows:

Primary School Teachers 1.2%
Secondary School Teachers 2.2%
Teachers’ Aides n/a
University Lecturers and Tutors 1.9%

Music, Dance and Other Teachers 1.5%

Employment growth in the Education industry (11.1%) has been just below the national average of 12.8% over the past five years. The female share of employment in the industry (69%) is much higher than the average across all industries (45%) and has risen by 7% since 1987. The industry is highly qualified with 64.8% of workers holding a Bachelors degree (well above the national industry average of 24.2%). The industry workforce is older than the average across all industries with 49% of workers aged 45 years and or older compared to the national average of 37%, suggesting a strong replacement demand will emerge over the next two decades.

Australian Jobs 2007
Education Industry Trends: Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IPSA) has prepared an Environmental Scan (2008) of broad factors and trends impacting on skill and training needs across a range of industry sectors, including education. Click on the following link to access this reportIBSA Report
Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd Current Workforce
Based on the information you entered in the online tool, a profile of the current Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd workforce is presented below.
For planning to be successful, Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd must understand the workforce they have, in terms of quantitative and qualitative characteristics.
The following information was provided to the tool to describe the Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd Workforce.
Current Qualification Profile

Other VET Certificate Qualification 100%
Current Occupations Employed

ICT Business Analyst

If Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd change nothing where are they heading?
Based on the turnover and the recruitment details that you entered in the online tool, the following presents a broad indicative forecast of where your organisation could be heading over the next 1,3 and 5 years based on the scenario 'if I change nothing'.

● Your workforce is in Growth Mode

Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd Desired Future Workforce
There are no absolutes when considering what will happen ‘tomorrow’ – be it in one, three or five years time. However preparation is the key to maximising options and minimising risks. Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd has identified the following profile for its desired future workforce.
The Future View is determining the organisation’s needs considering the emerging trends and issues within the context of the organisation’s environment.

The following is how Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd views it’s future workforce – their preferred future.

Future Qualification Profile

Degree or Higher Qualified 0% Other VET Certificate Qualification 0%
Trade Qualified 0% Year 12 or Below 0%
Diploma Qualified 0% Other 0%

Future Special skills and level of capability within Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd will be:

Future Occupations Employed:

Future Demographic/Employment Profile




Employment Type






Age Range

25 and under




56 and over

Length of service range







21 and over


All Employees

Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd Future Workforce Gaps
A comparison of the Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd current workforce and its desired future workforce reveals that your preferred future includes the following key changes.

Workforce Profile Changes
● Decrease percentage "Other VET Certificate Quailfication" from 100% to 0%
Desired Change in Skills and Competencies

Good Practice Recommendations
Your Workforce Development efforts will count for little unless you invest time in determining appropriate actions to address the gaps identified.
Based on the workforce concerns or issues that Tomw Communcations Pty Ltd has identified, you may be interested in reviewing the following workforce strategies and practices being implemented by some organisations.
In the area of...You might consider...

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