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Ai Group report highlights need for urgent action on declining literacy and numeracy

"Employers have expressed significant levels of dissatisfaction with key parts of Australia's education and training system," Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said today, commenting on the release of Ai Group's latest employer survey of workforce development and skills needs.

"87% of employers say their businesses are impacted to some extent by low levels of literacy.

"In particular, concern has been raised by employers identifying that 28% of school leavers have unsatisfactory levels of literacy and 36% have unsatisfactory numeracy skills.

"This Ai Group survey adds to the weight of evidence pointing to debilitating skills shortages. The recent PISA and TIMSS results measured a real and relative decline in Australia's schooling performance across the board in reading, maths and science. This, coupled with what employers are telling us about ongoing areas of dissatisfaction with graduates from the school and training systems in particular, combine to create the perfect storm.

"This situation demands real and urgent attention. Addressing these issues and seeing a turnaround in results needs to be a critical national priority," Mr Willox said.

Key Findings:

  • 87% of employers are impacted to some extent by low literacy/numeracy levels.
  • Half of employers surveyed are experiencing or expecting skill shortages.
  • Half of employers report shortages of Technicians & Trades workers.
  • Apprenticeship pathways, including school-based apprenticeships, remain unattractive to many young people.
  • 24.6% of employers had difficulty recruiting workers with STEM skills.
  • Employers are dissatisfied with the employability skills of school leavers and their basic numeracy skills (36%) and literacy skills (28%).
  • While many employers are providing training opportunities within their companies, there is scope for a fuller level of engagement in the national training system.

Read the Full Report

Media Enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347