There’s a new Tasmanian divide, and it’s bigger than Hobart v Launceston.
The split is in employment. Well-educated winners working in tourism, education and the ever-growing health and aged care systems are doing well. Those who aren’t include middle-skilled workers in old industries, plus people with qualifications out of synch with the economy.
A new report by Lisa Denny from the University of Tasmania’s Institute for the Study for Social Change finds that in 2006-16 the state saw “heightened job polarisation.” The share of the workforce employed at top-two skill levels increased to over a third of the workforce while 46 per cent of jobs were still at Certificate Two Level. Especially alarming news for people with no formal training is that half the people in low level jobs are over-qualified. This appears to indicate middle-skill work is disappearing and people who would have worked in those jobs are now crowding out the unskilled.
“Such trends highlight the need to create more knowledge-intensive, high skill employment while providing flexible training options to ensure workers can adapt to the rapidly changing labour market,” Dr Denny writes.
This makes the case for the University of Tasmania’s new associate degree programme, designed for school leavers not interested in full-on study and older workers who need to retrain in expanding areas of the economy.