A Plan for Action

The National Workforce Strategy will be achieved through implementing Australian Government agency-led policy initiatives and sectoral workforce strategies consistent with the five principles, and reflect the Government’s three key areas of focus to shape policy priorities.

On this page:

The workforce environment diagram provides a visualisation of the current state of Australia’s workforce environment and the future state, which will support the realisation of the National Workforce Strategy’s vision for Australia’s workforce.

Sector-specific strategies and the National Workforce Strategy

Sectoral workforce strategies will continue to play a critical role in developing Australia’s workforce.

They will remain the primary mechanism through which a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing specific sectors’ workforces can be achieved. Sectoral strategies inform better policy responses and help position job seekers and working Australians to meet the needs of industry moving forward.

But it is also important individual workforce strategies are cognisant of workforce policies already in place across Government to ensure a consistent and coordinated approach.

In developing the National Workforce Strategy, analysis of existing workforce strategies was undertaken to identify cross-cutting themes, key insights, and alignment with the National Workforce Strategy principles.

Themes prominent across existing sector-specific strategies include:

  • Workforce attraction, retention, engagement by industry.
  • Supporting business and industry effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Building the skills, capability, flexibility, and work readiness of the sector workforce.
  • The need for data, information, and evidence.
Sectoral Workforce Strategies - alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Use Data Skill Australians Remove Barriers Activate Industry Target Migration
Care and Support Workforce Strategy (March 2022) Moderate alignment with the Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles
THRIVE 2030 (long-term strategy for the visitor economy) (March 2022) Moderate alignment with the Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles
National Medical Workforce Strategy (December 2021) Moderate alignment with the Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles
National Children’s Education and Care Workforce Strategy (September 2021) Moderate alignment with the Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles
NDIS National Workforce Plan 2021-25 (June 2021) Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Some alignment with the Principles
Australia’s Services Exports Action Plan (April 2021) Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles
APS Workforce Strategy 2025 (March 2021) Moderate alignment with the Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Some alignment with the Principles Some alignment with the Principles
National Agricultural Workforce Strategy and Roadmap (December 2020 and March 2021) test Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles
Australia’s National Resources Workforce Strategy
(February 2021)
Moderate alignment with the Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles
Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020 & Cyber Security
National Workforce Program (August 2020)
Moderate alignment with the Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles
National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy (August 2019) Some alignment with the Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Some alignment with the Principles
Defence Industry Skilling and STEM Strategy (March 2019) Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Some alignment with the Principles
A Matter of Care: Australia's Aged Care Workforce
Strategy (June 2018)
Moderate alignment with the Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Some alignment with the Principles
Naval Shipbuilding Plan (May 2017) Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Workforce Strategic Framework 2016–2023 (February 2017)
Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Denotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles Moderate alignment with the Principles Some alignment with the Principles

Moderate alignment with the PrinciplesDenotes strong alignment with the National Workforce Strategy’s Principles

Moderate alignment with the PrinciplesModerate alignment with the Principles

Some alignment with the PrinciplesSome alignment with the Principles

While the themes are consistent with the National Workforce Strategy Principles, the extent to which they are explored varies.

Analysis suggests there is an opportunity for some sectoral strategies to focus more strongly on transparent data, addressing workforce barriers, and activating industry. Further, targeted migration enables temporary and permanent migrants to fill workforce gaps and as such, some sectoral strategies could benefit from considering and leveraging existing migration programs to fill these gaps.

With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the way we work and accelerating changes that were already underway, now is the opportune time to review and reconsider the workforce opportunities and challenges facing individual sectors.13 The National Workforce Strategy provides the framework for how this should be done for any new workforce strategies being developed or where existing workforce strategies are being updated, and how the impacts can be monitored and reported.

Delivering the future state of the workforce

The National Workforce Strategy framework outlined must be used by Australian Government departments and agencies to develop individual sectoral strategies that align with the Strategy’s five principles.

To ensure alignment with the National Workforce Strategy, all new strategies should pursue the Strategy principles to optimise workforce supply. Existing strategies under review should be updated using this framework.

Commonwealth departments and agencies should also consider opportunities to improve outcomes for the key cohorts identified in the national framework – Indigenous Australians, women, and people with disability – when determining the focus for their strategies, including how best to support disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people move into work.

While these cohorts are a key focus of the National Workforce Strategy, Australian Government departments and agencies should seek to increase participation and opportunities for other vulnerable cohorts within the labour market, including the long-term unemployed, youth, mature-aged people, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Other Government priorities should be reflected in sector-specific strategies where possible, such as regionalisation and supporting small and family businesses. 

Regional Australia faces a unique set of workforce challenges, caused by demographic changes, structural shifts in the economy, and technological advancements in key regional industries such as mining, manufacturing and agriculture, forestry, and fishing. 

Small and family businesses have a critical role in the economy, and their interests should be reflected in workforce policy, including consideration of the wellbeing of owners and employees and their digital capabilities. 

Policy development processes will be supported by Workforce Foundations within the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, National Careers Institute and the National Skills Commission.

The National Workforce Taskforce has been established to orchestrate these processes to ensure they are not working at cross purposes — providing a consolidated view of current and future workforce requirements, drawing on additional analysis and engagement with key stakeholders.

The Taskforce will maintain a strong focus on measurement to track progress and drive accountability, with details on key indicators at Attachment A. This will ensure:

  • alignment and complementarity of sector-strategies to the Principles.
  • accountability, visibility, and transparency on progress towards Australia’s workforce vision.
  • responsiveness to emerging risks, including being able to quickly take corrective actions where needed.

Agencies will remain responsible for the development of workforce initiatives and sectoral strategies consistent with their portfolio responsibilities.

Checklist for Agencies

  • All sectoral workforce strategies must focus on optimising workforce supply, through actions consistent with the National Workforce Strategy Principles.
  • Consider and incorporate actions to address Government priorities. Existing strategies under review should be updated to reflect the National Workforce Strategy framework.
  • Use enabling data and information available from DESE, the National Skills Commission, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and other sources to analyse where the gaps are and what policies to focus on.
  • Engage with the National Workforce Taskforce to ensure the sectoral strategy aligns with the national framework and incorporates the latest information on strategic direction from government.
  • Utilise available Workforce Foundations to provide information that guides what sectoral strategies should focus on.
  • Work with industry to ensure the strategy has on-the-ground support.

13 National Skills Commission, The State of Australia’s Skills 2021: now and into the future