In the next five years, demand in Australia for high-skilled jobs is expected to expand almost twice compared to low-skilled jobs. This translates to 238,000 to 360,000 job openings for potential candidates holding a Bachelor degree or above.
In fact, the job openings are concentrated on the graduates of age group 20-24 years. This age group is expected to fulfill almost 300,000 placements by 2020. By 2030, the graduates between the ages 20-24 years will have to fulfill around 350,000 placements.
While this is a good news for graduates who are on the lookout for suitable jobs, it is also slightly alarming as Australian universities are facing an unprecedented number of dropouts.
By 2014, 33% of the students who joined universities in 2009 had dropped out completely. Universities also report a high dropout rate from the first years, almost 15% doing so.
It is a challenge to retain the students until the final year.
Hence, universities are assessing the reason and solutions to reduce this trend.
One possible solution would be to focus on international students who report a higher number of course completion. In 2014, among the total course completions, 33% were by international students.
As international education is Australia’s third largest export, earning $19 billion worth of revenue in 2015, this adds another dimension to the job market situation. After all, the universities gave jobs to 100,000 individuals comprising of professors and other staffs.
Technology is another answer to retain the students and enroll more of them.
This is done in two ways.
Appeal for students in remote areas:
In 2014, 5% students from remote communities were enrolled in universities compared to 1% in 2006. While this number might not make a huge difference, the thing is that technology-enabled learning is prompting a larger number of students to pursue tertiary education. For example, 42.2% of Australians living in cities had a Bachelor degree compared to 17.8% of remote-area dwellers.
The involvement of students in remote areas are expected to grow because of sensations like Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which enables a student to participate in learning as long as they have internet connection.
This will do well, as 4 out of 5 Australians have smartphones, 3 out of 4 own portable laptop, and 1 out of 2 own a tablet.
IT spending by universities
For the same reason, Australian universities are expected to invest in their IT spending, which is expected to reach $1.73 billion by 2022. This will include better finances and condition for MOOCs and VR technology to give students a better idea of their future campuses, among others. These provisions are expected to appeal to the students while simultaneously help them complete their courses, so that they can be a part of the demanding job market.
With half a million jobs on the line, Australia’s universities’ focus should be on introducing technology in the classroom and also making the teachers accept it. If it does that, it can tap into the billion dollar market while also giving jobs to the graduates.
Sachi Mulmi is a researcher with Frost & Sullivan. She can be reached at email@example.com
Sapan Agarwal drives content and marketing for Frost & Sullivan. Sapan is based out of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org | +603 6204 5830