NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED528498
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Attrition in the Trades. Research Overview. Monograph Series 07/2011
Wilson, Sara
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
"Attrition in the trades," by Tom Karmel, Patrick Lim and Josie Misko, analyses whether attrition--the gradual reduction or weakening of a workforce--occurs more amongst tradespeople than professionals, and if this is to the detriment of the supply of tradespeople. The authors use data from the Australian Labour Mobility Survey in 2008 and 1994. This provides a useful comparison because in 2008 the labour market was in a good state--but the economic crisis was on the horizon--but in 1994 times were much tougher. To gauge the level of attrition in the trades and professions, Karmel, Lim and Misko look at movement within occupations (job mobility) and between occupations (occupational mobility). Obviously for industry planning and policy, occupational mobility is more significant, because it goes to the heart of occupational labour supply. The authors' analysis of the Australian Labour Mobility Survey reveals some interesting points: for example, when workers leave a job, it may be for positive reasons; they have got a better or more highly paid job within the same occupation. This is an example of what is known as job "churn" and tends to happen when the economy is going through a good patch and so was more prevalent in 2008. It may be a problem for employers, but is not really one for the occupation as a whole. When the economic climate is tough, workers are more likely to lose their jobs than leave them; here, tradespeople are revealed to be more vulnerable than their professional counterparts. Karmel and colleagues were surprised by some of their findings: they expected attrition among tradespeople to be more of an issue than it is. This is not to say the attrition rate couldn't be improved, but the comparison with attrition among professionals didn't provide the obvious disparity they expected. It is possible that the perception of skills shortages might be influenced by the amount of job churn that occurs within the occupation, rather than individuals dropping out of the trades altogether. The authors conclude that the focus on commencement and completion rates for apprenticeships is warranted--that the problem of attrition in the trades is more one of perception than reality. [For "Attrition in the Trades. NCVER Monograph Series 07/2011," see ED528497.]
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
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
Authoring Institution: National Centre for Vocational Education Research
Identifiers - Location: Australia