NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED503419
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 67
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 23
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-921412-62-2
To Have and to Hold: Retaining and Utilising Skilled People. A National Vocational Education and Training Research and Evaluation Program Report
Smith, Andrew; Oczkowski, Eddie; Smith, Chris Selby
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
Not being able to hire people with the required skills is an obvious impediment to the productivity and prosperity of any organisation and, ultimately, to a country's economy. An equally important concern for employers is how to keep skilled employees and how to use their skills fully. This report examines the ways in which Australian employers retain skilled staff at a time of low unemployment and skills shortages. It also considers the ways in which employers enhance their ability to use the skills of their people. The study analysed retention and utilisation at the organisation level. Its focus is on the role of human resource management practices, including training and high-performance work practices, in enabling employers to retain and utilise the skills of their staff. The report finds that the key driver for both skills retention and utilisation is the presence of a learning orientation in the organisation. People stay in organisations if they feel they are learning and progressing in their careers. Retention or utilisation of skilled people is not necessarily improved through strategies such as increasing wages, adopting family-friendly working policies, and the use of non-monetary rewards. These things help make people feel satisfied, but they are not sufficient to retain skilled people in a tight labour market. What does facilitate retention is the application of high-performance work practices such as a commitment to learning, open-mindedness and shared vision. More widespread adoption of these practices would benefit employers and workers alike. Training as part of an overall learning culture, particularly nationally recognised training, is also important in retaining skilled people and making better use of their skills. This also offers opportunities for registered training organisations to work with employers to improve retention and utilisation strategies for employees. Appended are: (1) Survey Methodology; (2) Survey Questionnaire; (3) Training and Human Resource Practices; (4) Models of Skill Turnover and Utilisation; and (5) Models of Skill Retention and Utilisation (alignment with long-term goals). (Contains 26 tables and 1 footnote.) [This work has been produced under the National Vocational Education and Training Research and Evaluation (NVETRE) Program, which is coordinated and managed by National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments. Funding is provided through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.]
National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd. P.O. Box 8288, Stational Arcade, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Tel: +61-8-230-8400; Fax: +61-8-212-3436; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Centre for Vocational Education Research
Identifiers - Location: Australia