Employers seek apprentices with passion

Two men, one older and one younger, wearing similar uniforms in front of an Aussiemoto business sign.

This story was first published on Thursday 28 June 2018. If you wish to use this content, please contact media@dese.gov.au to confirm that the information is still current.

A survey of employers of apprentices has found that most are successful in recruiting apprentices, with 70% of vacancies filled.

A genuine interest in the trade, a strong work ethic and a positive attitude are the top three characteristics sought by Australian employers of apprentices.

As part of the Skill Shortages research program, the Department of Jobs and Small Business surveyed more than 200 employers across five trade groups who advertised for an apprentice in 2017.

The survey results showed that employers were generally successful in their attempts to recruit an apprentice and often had a choice amongst suitable candidates.

The labour market for apprentices has eased somewhat over the past three years, with 70% of vacancies filled in 2017, compared with 62% in 2014.

Chart showing the proportion of vacancies filled

Employers attracted an average of 29 applicants per vacancy, 5.2 of whom were regarded as suitable. Only around 10% of employers said they compromised on some of their expectations in order to fill their vacancies.

However, many employers said that recruiting apprentices is still difficult, with most candidates regarded as unsuitable and those who were shortlisted often not turning up for interviews.

Chart showing the percentage of employers who said it was difficult or very difficult to recruit apprentices

There were also variations across trade groups and locations with the smallest percentage of vacancies filled in hairdressing (59%), followed by construction (67%) and automotive trades (70%).

Fewer employers in the hairdressing, engineering and automotive trades required prior training or experience, suggesting entry-level opportunities may be more readily available in those trades.

Recruitment methods varied. As well as advertising online, 54% of employers had been approached by a potential apprentice directly within the past year, 32% had approached a TAFE or school, and 20% had successfully recruited an apprentice by word-of-mouth in the past.

Read the Labour Market for Apprentices report.

Find out more about the Skill Shortage Research Program.

Look at other occupation data on Job Outlook.

Feature caption: His interest in motocross is what really impressed Grant (left) when he first took Travis on as an intern. Now, Travis works with Grant full time as a motor mechanic. 

Correct at time of publication.