How to plan for the future when you don’t have a crystal ball.

August 30, 2023

If you’re like me, you probably wish you had a crystal ball that could tell you what the future holds for your business. Well, I have some good news and some bad news for you.

The good news is that there is a government agency that does some of the hard work for you. It’s called Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA), and they produce annual employment projections that estimate how many jobs there will be in different regions, industries and occupations over the next five years.

The bad news is that these projections are not exact predictions, but rather educated guesses based on a bunch of assumptions and scenarios. So, don’t take them as gospel, but rather as a handy guide to help you navigate the uncertain waters of the post-COVID world.

The latest employment projections, released in June 2022, cover the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. According to JSA, there will be more jobs across the board, with employment growing by 1.2 million (or 9.3%) to reach 14.4 million by November 2026.

That sounds pretty good, right? But where will these jobs be? And what skills will they require? And most importantly, how can you make sure your business is ready to take advantage of them?

Well, let me break it down for you.

The four services industries that are expected to create more than three-fifths of the new jobs are:

  • Health care and social assistance (+300,200 or 15.7%)
  • Accommodation and food services (+146,900 or 16.8%)
  • Professional, scientific and technical services (+146,800 or 11.9%)
  • Education and training (+113,200 or 10.8%)

These industries reflect the long-term shift in employment towards services, driven by factors such as ageing population, income growth, consumer preferences and technological change.

But what about manufacturing, you ask? Isn’t that supposed to be dead and buried in Australia?

Well, not quite. Manufacturing is actually projected to grow over the next five years (+32,400 or 3.7%). This reflects the recovery from the pandemic, as well as the government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy, which aims to help Australian manufacturers scale-up, improve competitiveness and build more resilient supply chains. 

So, if you’re in manufacturing, or thinking of getting into it, don’t despair. There are still opportunities out there for you.

But what kind of workers will these industries need? And what skills will they require?

The occupational groups that are expected to grow the most over the next five years are:

  • Professionals (+334,100 or 10.5%)
  • Community and personal service workers (+241,000 or 15.4%)
  • Managers (+156,600 or 9.8%)
  • Sales workers (+109,900 or 9.4%)

These occupations reflect the demand for higher-skilled workers in services industries, as well as the need for leadership, communication and interpersonal skills across various sectors.

It is likely that 91.7% of new jobs will require post-school education, and more than three-fifths of the total projected employment growth will occur in high skill level jobs (skill level 1 or 2).

So, if you’re looking to hire new staff, or upskill your existing ones, you may want to invest in some training and education. And if you’re looking for a career change, or a promotion, you may want to brush up on your skills and qualifications.

But remember, these projections are not set in stone. They are based on a range of assumptions and scenarios, which are subject to an inherent degree of uncertainty. They are not intended to be precise forecasts of future outcomes, but rather indicative guides to the likely future direction of the jobs market over the next five years.

So, don’t take them as gospel, but rather as a handy guide to help you plan for the future.

You can access the full employment projections report, data file and interactive dashboard on the Labour Market Insights website. You can also explore the trends and conditions for your local region, industry or occupation on the website.
I hope you find this article informative and helpful. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact me at


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