More than 90 per cent of employment growth in the year to May 2023 was in occupations requiring a post-school qualification, while the fastest-growing occupations all need a university degree.
“Australia’s demand for skills and knowledge is growing all the time,” Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said.
“We need more skilled workers, not fewer, to keep pace in a fast-changing strategic and economic environment and to drive productivity and economic growth.
“These are workers who make our economy tens of billions of dollars bigger and who we will rely on more in the coming decades to navigate the various multigenerational challenges before us.
“Importantly, the latest labour market update confirms the importance of both the higher education and vocational education and training systems to growing a skilled workforce.
“Nine out of 10 new jobs require a post-school qualification, while more than half of these need a university degree. Missing these targets will hit Australia socially, technologically and economically.
“Failing to educate enough university-trained workers will cost the economy $7 billion by 2026.
“This is why we need to facilitate greater engagement between universities and VET providers to ensure we can fulfil our shared role in delivering the skilled workers the nation needs.
“Substantial and sustainable government investment and stable policy settings will enable this, and the Australian Universities Accord is the opportunity for government to give education providers the environment they need to continue performing their vital functions for the benefit of all Australians.”