REOS spotlight: Employers’ experiences of recruiting apprentices

Jobs and Skills Australia has released the April Recruitment Experiences and Outlook Survey (REOS) spotlight. This report looks at the experiences of employers recruiting for an apprentice in a range of industries. 

Importantly, the findings are compiled from employers who volunteered information about recruiting apprentices. Therefore, the analysis may not be representative of all apprentice recruitment but does offer insights into the experiences of a broad range of businesses. 

Most of the employers included in this research operated in three industries – Construction, Manufacturing and the Other Services industry, which covers a diverse range of sectors including automotive repair and maintenance as well as hair and beauty services. 

Of these three industries, 55% of employers in the Manufacturing industry experienced recruitment difficulty, followed by 51% for the Other Services industry. On the other hand, it was considerably easier for employers in the Construction industry (32%) to fill their apprenticeship vacancies.

It is generally easier for a business to fill an apprentice vacancy compared with a non-apprentice position. However, some apprentice roles are more difficult to fill than others. A high recruitment difficulty rate (at 62%) was recorded for businesses looking for apprentice ‘Other Technicians and Trades Workers’ which mainly included Cabinet and Furniture Makers, and Hairdressers. On the other hand, the lowest recruitment difficulty rate (at 25%) was recorded for occupations in the Electrotechnology and Telecommunications Trades Workers group (this was mainly Electricians, and Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics). 

The methods used by employers to recruit also varies across industries. For example, employers in the Construction and Other Services industries were more likely to use word-of-mouth to hire apprentices. These two industries also appear to be much more likely to take advantage of job seekers approaching them directly as a way of filling their apprenticeships, compared with the Manufacturing industry. Internet jobs boards, while still the most common method of recruiting for apprentices, are less likely to be used to look for an apprentice compared with a non-apprentice position.