The Business Services industry is the largest and generally more labour intensive of Australia’s industries, contributing $40.8 billion to the economy; the fastest growing sectors are professional and social services like health and education.
Innovation & Business Skills Australia’s (IBSA) 2011 Environment Scan (Escan), Skilling diverse workforces – innovation, leadership and beyond and the Business Services Industry Escan provide an analysis of the social, technological, economic and labour market environments influencing workforce development and skills demand in the Business Services industry.
A trend identified with the business services workforce is that while we believe we have advanced in terms of equality more needs to be done to support women’s participation in higher management roles. The Escan also reported that the days of businesses completely meeting their own needs internally are a thing of the past with outsourcing of business services being commonplace and critical, in response to the current business market and use of labour.
New technologies and innovation are leading to the development of new services, with the risk for businesses that do not embrace new technologies being high as domestic and international competitors scramble for market share. Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) is one of the biggest opportunities for change within businesses and their workforces but it is still not clear quite what opportunities will emerge and what related skills will be needed in future businesses; identifying core skills for future work will continue to be challenging.
Demand for critical future skills is expected in business analysis, managing outsourcing and franchising, compliance, community engagement, partnership broking and marketing. While leaders and managers will need to ensure they are able to implement and monitor sustainable work practices, social responsibility will also be vital to business sustainability.
Escan 2011 identifies future workforce challenges in developing sufficient skills in business coaching, relationship management, change management and facilitation, disaster management, knowledge management and innovation.
Recommendations from Escan 2011 are that government, industry and employers, training providers and IBSA develop strategies to engage small and medium business in workforce development, align Training Package qualifications with wider industry certification, respond to the need for cross industry qualifications and identify models that support articulation to higher education programs.
Looking ahead to Escan 2012, IBSA is undertaking a national survey of industry associations and a series of national industry consultations to identify the most pressing workforce development issues in the Business Services and other industries; Escan 2012 will be available in March 2012.
The Business Services Industry Escan is available on the IBSA website http://www.ibsa.org.au/news-and-projects/environment-scan.aspx