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  Australia will face a labour shortfall of 500,000 in 17 years, according to a recently released report by the Boston Consulting Group.
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The report, prepared for the All India Management Association, predicts that an ageing population combined with a low birth rate would create a shortage of half a million workers in Australia by 2020. It forecasts a labour shortage of close to 60 million in the whole developed world, while unemployment levels in developing countries would reach 100 million.

Calls for increased immigration may just be a short-term fix, if a fix at all. A bigger intake of skilled workers will not be enough as higher educated migrants tended to have lower fertility rates.

Rather a closer look was needed at what industries were worth retaining, according to Mr Cronin, deputy chairman of Business Skills Victoria, recently quoted in The Age. For example call centres, any IT back-office functions, financial advice, book-keeping and accounting are all set to go offshore anyhow because of lower wages. It needs to be examined what changes are needed to the education system and immigration rules to ensure industries worth retaining, such as food processing, wine production, hospitality and tourism, education and training, do not disappear.
 
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