Australian Local Government Association
National survey of Australian local government skills and workforce capability reveals nine out of every ten Australian councils face jobs and skills shortages, highlighting the need for increased investment in our local government workforce.
The 2022 Local Government Workforce Skills and Capability Survey, conducted by SGS, captures rich insights into the Australian local government workforce, its skilling needs, and priorities at a time when Australian communities are undergoing rapid change.
The goal of the research was to understand current and future needs and challenges better, and to consolidate nationally representative evidence of the local government sector's workforce. This supports the sector’s continued delivery of vital services and infrastructure in their local communities and their contribution to the national agenda, such as improving productivity, promoting regional development, and addressing climate change.
Analysis of the responses from 210 local governments and an additional 15 focus groups and interviews revealed:
- Local government plays an important role as an anchor organisation
- Local governments continue to experience skills shortages in several occupations
- The most cited skills shortages are engineers
- Looking to the future, local governments anticipated that digital skills, renewables and other emerging industries would become more in demand
- Local governments are grappling with significant challenges in relation to staff attrition, recruitment and retention
- While an ageing workforce is front of mind for the sector, the workforce of local governments surveyed in 2022 was younger compared to the broader Australian workforce
- The 2022 Survey data indicates there is more progress to be made on local government workforce diversity
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in local government employment varied significantly across jurisdiction
- The COVID-19 pandemic was the most common challenge to conducting workforce training during 2021-22
- Qualitative insights from focus group contributors highlight useful case studies in regional collaboration and innovation in service delivery
The survey was commissioned by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) and funded by the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts.