Australia’s “overqualified” workforce could prompt start-up surge

Australia’s start-up sector could see a surge in numbers as disheartened employees quit their jobs in pursuit of a challenge, with a report revealing 45% of Australian workers feel overqualified for their job.


The latest Randstad Workmonitor Report is based on a global survey of 147,000 workers, including 4,500 in Australia. It found 45% of local workers feel overqualified for their job.


In addition, 38% of Australian workers don’t believe they have adequate training and development opportunities, while 41% say they don’t receive sufficient career opportunities.


According to Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, this is a “very telling” set of statistics.


“One of the major reasons [people start their own businesses] is because they want to use their skills,” Strong told StartupSmart.


“The vast majority of them say they want to use their skills and [starting up] was the only way they could think of doing it.”


“Many say ‘I want to do my own thing’ but they also say ‘I can make more money doing my own thing than working for these people who aren’t utilising the skills I’ve got’.”


“Especially in a big business job, employees are limited to one set of skills. That might explain why there’s more independent contractors out there.”


Strong says it’s particularly common for workers in the construction industry to leave a paid position and launch their own venture.


“In the construction industry, people who have a broad range of skills [are more likely to start up],” he says.


“And while everyone thinks they’re overqualified, there’s only half [of the Australian survey respondents who really believe it].”


While the Randstad Workmonitor Report is heavily focused on employees, it also highlights challenges for employers.


For example, two-thirds of employees say their employer has difficulties finding the right people for some jobs. Finding highly qualified employees is especially challenging (54%).


Meanwhile, more than half (57%) of the employees surveyed expect a shortage of highly qualified people.


And at the other end of the spectrum, 26% say it is difficult for their employer to find low-skilled employees. More than a third (37%) of employees expect a shortage of low-skilled workers within three years.


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