Implications for Australia’s workforce: Mercer's Australian Federal Budget 2023-24 analysis and insights 

Man in gloves and protective eyeglasses woodworking in workroom

05 February 2023

Workforce initiatives

Implications to workers and the workforces are not significant and there is still not enough done in the budget to power the economy beyond the short-term horizon. However, there are some bright spots: cheaper childcare bringing in more parents to participate, effort to close the gender pay gap, and culturally diverse participation in foundation and apprenticeship skilling. Migration will make it easier to attract overseas skilled workers to add additional labour in the market, though this will take time to trickle through.

Wage growth also features through targeted interventions such as aged care workers 15 per cent increase in wages and an investment in teacher workforce. Additionally, consideration for further changes to workplace relations to improve fairness. There is little detail as yet, so as a principle this seems targeted to protect casual and gig workers which we believe the future of work will see more of these types of workers and this is perhaps a step in the right direction as it has the potential to unlock hidden capacity when we don’t have enough workers right now. Though the devil will be in the detail.

Other bright spots included localised investment in infrastructure and events that will create additional employment opportunities and a study to understand the skills for the clean energy economy that are required longer term for this transformation. The national reconstruction fund also aims to support well-paying jobs and sure up capability in various areas. All these elements of the budget are welcome news and are effectively anchored around jobs, skills and opportunities which is on point for nation building.

Furthermore, the skills foundation and apprenticeships are also seeking to tackle more gender balance participation and places where traditionally it has favoured one group predominately. The challenge for workforces will be how they reimagine their attraction strategies to embrace these opportunities from a gender lens perspective and foundational places.

Whilst there was nothing of standout value, a solid and safe approach to continued nation building and its focus on the skills we need to invest in the short to medium term to pave the way for the future.

This content is intended to inform clients of Mercer’s views on particular issues. It is not intended to be provided to any person as a retail client and should not be relied upon or used as a substitute for professional advice specific to a client’s individual circumstances. Whilst Mercer believes the prospective information and forward looking statements made by Mercer in this report are based on reasonable grounds, they are predictive in character and may therefore be affected by inaccurate assumptions or by known or unknown risks and uncertainties. This content has been prepared by Mercer Consulting (Australia) Pty Ltd (MCAPL) ABN 55 153 168 140, Australian Financial Services Licence #411770. Any advice contained in this content is of a general nature only and does not take into account the personal needs and circumstances of any particular individual. Prior to acting on any information contained in this content you need to take into account your own financial circumstances, consider the Product Disclosure Statement for any product you are considering and seek advice from a licensed, or appropriately authorised financial adviser if you are unsure of what action to take. ‘MERCER’ is a registered trademark of Mercer (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 32 005 315 917.

Copyright 2023 Mercer LLC. All rights reserved.

Related solutions
Related insights