Hardest roles to fill

When it comes to job hunting, it’s important to know where the opportunities lie. Thankfully, for those keen to learn new skills, there are plenty of job prospects out there in the Australian market…if you know where to look.

SEEK’s most recent data (March 2015 – February 2016) shows there are a number of fields that are considered ‘hard to fill’, and are in high demand by employers. Gaining the skills needed to fill the roles in these areas will not only help increase your chances of being employed, but you’ll also be more likely to land the salary you’re after.

Christian Miran, HR Manager at SEEK, says that it pays to understand where there are fewer competitors in the job queue.

“Think about what you can do to upskill yourself and develop key disciplines that are in short supply,” Christian explains.

“Identify what you could bring to the role and the skills that separate you from the pack, as your unique value proposition. Finding a way to differentiate yourself from other candidates is key to nailing a role that is hard to fill."

If you’re seeking a new career, maybe it’s time to explore the opportunities available in industries that are seeking more qualified candidates. We’ve pulled together a list of the five in-demand industries from SEEK’s report as well as a few upskilling options, so that you can have the upper hand for your next career move.

The industries with the hardest roles to fill:

  • Legal
  • Government & Defence
  • Insurance & Superannuation
  • Real Estate & Property
  • Education & Training

Legal - Hardest roles to fill


The most recent figures put legal as the most in-demand industry for employers in Australia. While top legal eagles are hard to find at the best of times, particular fields such as construction law, environment and planning law, and insurance and superannuation law are experiencing shortages.

  • The demand for construction law is driving up salaries, with an average of more than $124,000 per year on offer.

Gain the skills you need:

  • Entry level career in law: Get a Certificate III in Business Administration (Legal) (BSB31015) to begin your journey in the legal arena.
  • Most Australian states are finding it difficult to place legal specialists, with New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia noticing fewer candidates for legal roles.

Government - Hardest roles to fill

Government & Defence

The government and defence industry is experiencing an under-supply of candidates, with substantial shortages in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

  • Policy, planning and regulation roles offer some of the highest average salaries in the sector, at an average of $95,365. State Government jobs also command a high average salary of $92,215

Gain the skills you need:

  • Policy Analyst: A Bachelor of Social Science (Security and Counter Terrorism) will give you insights into global responses to terrorism, including intelligence gathering, espionage and foreign policy.

Insurance & Superannuation

If you enjoy the nitty-gritty of number crunching and assessments, then a career in insurance and superannuation could be your future forte. The insurance and superannuation industry is experiencing hefty shortages with employers willing to provide generous salaries to trained professionals.

  • Brokerage, risk consulting and workers' compensation are the most difficult sectors to fill.
  • Management and risk consulting employers are willing to pay six-figure salaries for suitable candidates, with average salary bands hitting $113,641 and $100,905 respectively.
  • Actuarial work, which comes in sixth on the hardest roles to fill for this industry, also commands a significant salary at an average of $107,070.

Gain the skills you need:

  • Underwriting: Set your career up for underwriting roles by gaining a Certificate IV in Life Insurance (Underwriting Stream) (FNS41515).
  • Risk Consulting: A Graduate Certificate in Applied Finance can help you secure risk consulting roles, giving you the opportunity to guide people as they look to invest their money.
  • Insurance: If you’re a budding insurance bod, check out the Certificate IV in General Insurance (Generalist Stream) (FNS41415) to ensure you’re equipped with the right knowledge to start your career.

Real Estate & Property

The real estate industry is also seeing employee shortages, with qualified managers in areas such as leasing, property, body corporate and facilities all in short supply. Employers in valuation and commercial sales are also experiencing similar shortfalls.

  • Valuationcommercial sales and residential leasing and property management are the three hardest to source areas in this industry.
  • Retail and property development roles command the highest salaries with an average of approximately $108,654, while valuation comes in second at $95,081.

Gain the skills you need:

  • Valuation: A Bachelor of Property and Real Estate can open a number of doors in the real estate industry, giving you options to specialise in areas including commercial, industrial and residential property.
  • Property Management: With property management among the hardest to source roles, a Diploma of Property Services (Agency Management) (CPP50307) could set you on the road to career success.
  • Real Estate Agent or Agency Manager: A Certificate IV in Property Services (Real Estate) (CPP40307) will give you the skills to manage properties, as well as marketing them for sale and preparing property reports.

Education & Training

If you’re looking for a career that truly makes a difference, education and training is a rewarding industry that’s also crying out for skilled professionals. There’s currently a strong demand for primary and secondary teachers, as well as those with the skills to manage schools.

  • An increased demand for education is being driven by above average growth in the school-aged population, with the industry expected to grow 15.6 per cent by 2019.
  • The education sector is also predicted to create 58,900 more jobs within five years (Department of Employment)
  • Specialist education roles can command significant salaries, with teachers in tertiary education averaging $102,174.

Gain the skills you need:

  • Teaching – Early Childhood: With more than 290,000 babies born each year in Australia, demand for early childhood teachers is expected to grow significantly within the next few years.
  • Teaching – Primary: All Australian Primary School Teachers require a Bachelor or postgraduate degree in primary education. Make sure you have the right qualification to explore opportunities in this field.
  • Childcare & Outside School Hours Care: At least 50% of Child Care Educators working in a centre must have at least a Diploma qualification (or be studying a Diploma). You can study online and complete your course while working.
  • Management – Schools: A Master of Teaching (Primary) can help you secure a role in the management of schools, which can lead to a higher salary.
  • Teaching Aides & Special Needs: The Certificate III in Education Support (CHC30213) lets you work through your online course at your own pace and gain valuable on-the-job experience.