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Priority skills


This section provides a summary of key skills identified by Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) in their Skills Forecasts. 

IRCs have pinpointed a variety of skills as priorities for their industry. Drawing on the skills framework set out in the report Future skills and training: A practical resource to help identify future skills and training, these have been grouped within eleven high-level skill areas for the purposes of this analysis. 

For more information on the factors driving demand for skills, please visit the Factors and trends page. For information on the cross-sector projects and training package development work underway, please visit the Key initiatives page.  

Each page below contains a summary of the skill need, industry demand for that skill, and case studies of industry clusters and sectors with a specific need for these skills:


The priority skills framework has largely been based on and adapted from, the skills outlined in the skills chapter of the Miles Morgan report Future skills and training: A practical resource to help identify future skills and training. The report outlines a series of skills that workers will need to be effective in Australia’s future workplace.

Additional skill areas have been included where IRC Skills Forecasts have consistently identified certain skills needs, which aren’t a focus in the Future skills and training report. 

In total, eleven priority skills areas have been identified:

  • Adaptability and learning skills (i.e. innovation, flexibility, and multiskilling)
  • Analytical skills (data analysis, critical and creative thinking, and problem-solving)
  • Business and compliance skills (small business skills, and regulatory compliance)
  • Collaboration skills (interpersonal skills, communication, and teamwork)
  • Customer service and marketing skills (social media, marketing and customer service)
  • Digital skills (new technologies, robotics and automation, big data, and cybersecurity)
  • Foundation skills (language, literacy and numeracy, including digital literacy)
  • Industry and occupation-specific skills (technical skills)
  • Leadership and management skills (leadership of self and others)
  • STEM skills (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics)
  • Sustainability and natural resource management skills (green skills).

For each Priority Skills page, a comprehensive Australian literature and document search was conducted to gather current research or analytical reports pertaining to current and future skills needs and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Job vacancy data

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2021, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2021,

A review of the top 120 baseline skills and top 200 specialised skills in the Burning Glass Skills Taxonomy was undertaken to develop a more granular list of skills allocated to each broader priority skill category.  For example, problem-solving, critical thinking, and data analysis skills from the Burning Glass Skills Taxonomy were included under the priority skills category: Analytical skills.

Data shown represent:

  • the percentage of internet job postings in each occupation (ANZSCO Major Group) that requested at least one of the granular skills allocated to a broader priority skill category in Australia between July 2018 and June 2021.
  • 4-digit ANZSCO occupations where a priority skill category is highly requested by employers, and some examples of the specific types of requests for these skills employers are making for these occupations.


Case studies

The case studies that are presented on each Priority skills page are intended to provide more information about IRC or industry demand for a specific skill (and more detail about why that skill is a priority for that particular industry).

Updated: 29 Mar 2022
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