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The Highest In-demand Occupations and Industries for VET in 2022

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Australia is in the midst of a jobs boom.

Contrary to initial assumptions, our labour market has rebounded from the pandemic rather well. With unemployment sitting at just 4.2%, more jobs are available than ever.

Historically, we have relied on the migration of workers to solve our labour market issues. However, with border closures and restrictions, we must shift our focus towards skilling workers and creating a better-matched supply and employment demand on Australian shores. 

To do this, we must forecast which occupations are going to be in the highest demand and build resilience and adaptability into our education and skills system.

A forecast of the Australian labour force


Following the easing of Delta-outbreak restrictions, job openings between September and November increased 18.5% (396,100) from the previous three months. This figure is almost three-quarters higher than pre-COVID levels during February 2020. 64,800 jobs were also estimated to have been created between November and December. 

“These figures continue to show the high demand for workers from businesses emerging from lockdowns, together with ongoing labour shortages, particularly in lower-paying industries,” said Bureau’s Head of Labour Statistics, Bjorn Jarvis.

All sectors of the economy reported higher vacancies, led by the private sector with job openings at 361,700. Labour analysis by NAB indicated approximately 40% of all Australian businesses were feeling the talent ‘squeeze’, with larger businesses hit hardest. 

The huge demand for workers, and a relative lack of supply from international borders, are prompting many employees to consider a career move. This mindset shift highlights critical questions about how Australia’s education system can keep pace with these demands and which occupations and industries we should focus our attention to.

1. Medical practitioners and nurses


The care industry has always been one of the most important industries in Australia – and one that has grown and will continue to grow as we navigate through the ongoing effects of COVID-19. 

The pandemic has created a sustained need for all types of care professionals – long-term care facilities, schools, hospitals and urgent medical centres are all looking for nurses and medical staff. Positions in outpatient care centres and home healthcare agencies are growing quickly.

In Queensland, nursing and health care courses are the most sought-after among school leavers in 2021. Queensland’s universities and TAFE institutes issued some of their highest offers in their Diploma of Nursing and Bachelor of Nursing. 

This news is not surprising, given that registered nursing jobs are expected to grow by 46,500 (15.6%) over the next four years.

2. Aged and disabled carers


The National Skills Commission has predicted that aged and disabled care employment will skyrocket by 2025. As Australia’s population ages, the demand for aged care will increase with it. 

The ‘State of Australia’s Skills 2021’ report estimates that aged and disabled carer jobs will grow by 54,700 (24.7%) over the next four years. 

Serious staffing shortages in the aged care industry have also prompted TAFEs and education providers, such as Griffith TAFE and Uniting NSW & ACT, to offer aged care training.

3. Data scientists


Today’s modern world runs on data. 

Whether it’s financial insights, understanding customer behaviour or research, people who can manage and reason over large amounts of data are in high demand. 

According to the National Skills Commission, “data scientists find and interpret rich data sources, manage large amounts of data, merge data sources, ensure consistency of data-sets, and create visualisations to aid in understanding data. They build mathematical models, present and communicate data insights and findings, and recommend ways to apply data.”

Because of this, we can expect almost every company to employ at least one data scientist.

4. Software engineers


Technology roles have long featured on the emerging jobs list and will continue to dominate a large percentage of our jobs market. 

But it’s not just the tech industry that requires tech talent anymore – almost every industry and business are shifting to digital products, which will inevitably require tech workers. 

The rapid emergence of roles like software engineers and full-stack developers makes sense. 

Most business and casual interactions moved online during the height of the pandemic, and they’re expected to stay there. The technology that enables these interactions requires highly-skilled, specialised workers to create and maintain it. 

The versatility of software engineers means they are in hot demand across various industries and companies looking to add tech capacity as efficiently as possible. Jobs in software and applications programming mirrors this sentiment, and are expected to increase by 30% between now and 2025. 

Emerging education providers – the likes of Developers Institute – are committed to providing specialised, industry-driven training to meet this demand for developer talent.

Digital strategists, marketers and experience designers, among other emerging occupations


The World Economic Forum predicts 97 million global roles will emerge over the next five years. These roles will be a hybrid of new occupations and existing ones, requiring digital and human components. 

Other emerging occupations include:


  • Customer success managers
  • Cyber security specialists
  • Experience designers
  • Digital strategists
  • Marketing and advertising specialists
  • AI and machine learning specialists

Our previous blog unpacked the top 10 in-demand jobs of 2020 and 2021. While some of these have decreased slightly in demand, they are still as important as ever.

We need to limit our dependence on the attraction and migration of skilled workers from outside Australia’s borders.

To create a better-matched supply and demand of workers, we need to bolster our education and training system and continue to cultivate a culture of lifelong learning and upskilling.


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