Labour supply and essential worker shortages in key health, education and transport occupations report by David Peetz 2023

Key Findings and Background

Essential workers are the ones most in demand in the NSW labour market.

While the pandemic saw a decline in demand for many professions (as the labour market softened), this was not the case for ‘essential occupations’ in which demand actually increased.

  • “In 2020, ‘essential’ internet vacancies rose by 4%, whereas other internet vacancies fell by 29%” (p.3)

After the pandemic this demand for ‘essential occupations’ didn’t fall away, instead to date the demand for ‘essential occupations’ continues to outstrip the demand for occupations across the rest of the workforce.

  • “In 2020, ‘essential’ internet vacancies rose by 4%, whereas other internet vacancies fell by 29%.” (p.3)
  • “When the pandemic circumstances changed, growth in demand for workers in non-essential occupations resumed, but this was not accompanied by any loss in demand for workers in essential occupations: in 2021, the numbers of internet vacancies for both ‘essential’ and ‘other’ occupations both rose by about half” (p.3)
  • “It was nonetheless the case that, by 2022, the number of internet vacancies for ‘essential’ occupations was 98% higher than it had been in 2018. For ‘other’ vacancies, the number was just 26% higher than in 2018” (p.3)

And the future demand for these occupations is only going to grow.

  • “For workers in the essential occupation units listed in this report, employment is projected to grow by 14.4% over the five-year period. This is nearly twice the growth rate of 7.9% projected for other occupations.” (p.5)