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Leadership and management skills:


Leadership and management skills encompass a range of skills associated with people management, self-management and change management.

Planning, problem-solving and decision-making are all skills which pertain to leadership and management. Other major aspects of managing and leading include supervision of others, the ability to delegate tasks, and to effectively manage yourself and your workload.

COVID-19 impact

Self-management, planning and people management skills have been necessary to guide teams and co-workers, along with strategic and innovative thinking, to protect and ensure business continuity and recognise potential opportunities. As highlighted in the PwC article, How to Redefine Employee Experience for the Post-pandemic World, leaders have been required to rethink processes, physical setups, and safety measures for customer-facing, factory and field workers and create a virtual workplace for remote workers. The 2020 Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum shows for Australia, leadership and social influence skills were ranked fourth of the top 15 skills identified as being in high demand by the organisations surveyed.

Industry skills needs

Generic skills

In their comprehensive 2019 Skills Forecasts, IRCs ranked a series of 12 generic skill categories, in priority order.

Managerial/Leadership skills (which aligns directly with Leadership and management) received an average ranking of 6th (out of 12) across all skills forecasts.

Priority skills

Leadership and management skills were also identified to a moderate degree by industries that reported on priority skills in their 2019 Skills Forecasts.

The main leadership and management-related skills, identified most frequently within priority skills lists in skills forecasts, were:

  • Management-related, and planning, scheduling, logistical and supply chain management skills, identified by:
    • Forestry and Wood Products
    • Manufacturing and Engineering
    • Printing and Graphic Arts.

Internet job postings

Internet job vacancy postings that contained requests for leadership and management skills were examined for occupational trends. This includes skills in leadership, planning, time management, building relationships, mentoring and decision making. The chart below compares the percentage of internet job postings in each occupation (ANZSCO Major Group) that requested leadership and management skills, including communication.

Internet job postings that requested leadership and management skills, by occupation (2016-20)

Source: Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight™ Real-time Labor Market Information tool.

Unsurprisingly, leadership and management skills were most often explicitly requested for managerial positions. However, 33% of managerial postions didn’t contain an explicit reference to leadership skills. This does not mean these skills were not relevant, but more likely indicates that the empoyers assume only those with leadership skills would apply for the position. Leadership and management skills were least often requested for machinery operators and labourers, but all catagories of profession (with the exception of Machinery operators and drivers) had these skills requested in 20% or more job postings.

The following graphic shows examples of occupations where leadership and management skills are highly requested, and some examples of the types of requests employers are making for those in these occupations.

Leadership and management skills requested by employers are usually related to communication or planning skills. This ranges from communicating with internal and external stakeholders, training and developing high-performance teams, and demonstrating strategic thinking, analysis, problem solving and decision-making capabilities.


Case study

Manufacturing and Engineering

The Manufacturing and Engineering industry includes a variety of business types and occupations, usually associated with designing, making, assembling, installing, maintaining and repairing manufactured products, and incorporates the following sectors:

  • Engineering
  • Boatbuilding and Shipbuilding
  • Jewellery Manufacture
  • Locksmithing
  • Watch and Clock Service and Repair.

As outlined in the Manufacturing and Engineering IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, business models in the industry are changing, with some businesses developing whole products and integrated solutions as opposed to being component manufacturers, while others are becoming more specialised.

Changing business models also signifies a change in skills demand, particularly around the area of leadership and management. A survey of the Manufacturing and Engineering industry highlighted a significant and growing lack of leadership and management skills among workers, with 62% of respondents indicating that this was having a significant impact on business.

In addition, the Manufacturing and Engineering IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast reported predictions of employment growth for Production Managers and Management Analysists, with these occupations expected to grow by more than 5%.

The following quotes from the Manufacturing and Engineering IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast highlight the changing skills needs and gaps in the industry:

Need for underpinning generic skills, including mathematics, problem-solving (including advanced problem-solving and analytical problem-solving models), interpretation of supplied information, time-keeping, goal-setting, customer service skills, and project management skills.

Projected employment growth of more than 5% for Production Managers, Management and Organisation Analysts, Other Miscellaneous Technicians and Trades Workers and Product Assemblers over the five years to 2023.

Lack of leadership and management skills, with 62% of respondents believing that a lack of leadership and management skills is having a high impact on the business. This was an increase from 56% in the previous year.

Updated: 15 Jun 2021
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