By Jason Cadden | AAP | April 18, 2011 | 8:56AM
THE skills shortage re-emerged in the March quarter as the rebuilding effort after a string of natural disasters led to demand for skilled labour outstripping supply.
The 2011 March quarter Clarius Skills Index rose to 100.3 index points, just above the 100 mark that indicate a balanced labour market.
The index was 99.9 in the December quarter, showing a marginal oversupply.
The index showed demand for skilled labour rose by 64,000 in the March quarter, while supply increased by 51,400.
The report said skills shortages were most noticeable in the construction, building and engineering categories.
Clarius chief operating officer Kym Quick said post-disaster reconstruction, combined with the resources boom and major information technology (IT) projects were putting a strain on the availability of skills.
“This is shaping as a major national issue,” Ms Quick said in a statement.
“Western Australia’s boom economy continues draw a range of skills. The impact of the floods, and cyclone in Queensland, has not fully translated into major shifts in labour demand or supply but they are now starting to emerge.
“There are also pressures in the IT sector as three of the major banks spend $4 billion to upgrade their IT systems, and the national NBN rollout.”
Ms Quick said there were oversupplies of skilled labour in health, social and electronic occupations and there had been some large increases in demand in professional categories.
“In financial services we are seeing a tightening of the market because of a reluctance of professionals in this category to chance their arm and explore other job opportunities,” Ms Quick said.
The Clarius index, prepared by KPMG Econtech, analyses labour and supply, using labour force data from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The unemployment rate in March fell to 4.9 per cent, from 5 per cent in February, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows.