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The qualification classifications used in the Anticipating Future Skills project are based on the ABS Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001. Qualifications data is available as Field of Education (Broad and Narrow) and Broad Level of Education. Field of Education refers to the subject matter included in an educational activity (e.g. Architecture and Building, Health). Level of Education is related to the skill level and length of education (e.g. Certificate, Bachelor Degree.)

For the purposes of this project, the levels of Secondary, Primary, and Pre-primary Education are categorised as No Post School qualifications.

The projections include the following matrices of data:

  • Region x Occupation x Field of qualification x Scenario
  • Region x Occupation x Level of qualification x Scenario
  • Region x Field of qualification x Level of qualification x Scenario.


The final scenarios cover the period 2017 to 2022 and include:

  • Technological change: increasing labour productivity of all industries in Queensland so that the productivity of each is 0.25 per cent higher than the baseline each year between 2017-18 and 2021-22.
  • Changing workforce: increasing interstate migration with a decreasing proportion of working aged population (15-64 years).
  • External impact: halving the price of coal and iron ore.

The modelling results derived under each scenario were compared with a baseline scenario based on 2017 labour market, population and economic data and the Queensland Government’s 2017-18 Budget papers.

Key findings

There are a number of key findings arising from the modelling. Perhaps the most significant is that the workforce becomes more educated over the five years to 2022. Retiring workers, many of whom hold no post-school qualification, will be replaced with younger workforce entrants who are more likely to obtain post-school qualifications.

Vocational education and training (VET) remains an important pathway for skills acquisition, given its role as a pathway to tertiary education. In fact, over one-quarter of the workforce will possess VET qualifications by 2022.

Level of education

  • The number of workers with a Certificate increases by between 7.4 and 9.8 per cent and remains the largest qualification group in the labour force.
  • Under each scenario, the smallest group is projected to be workers with Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate qualifications.
  • Bachelor-qualified workers are projected to make up over one third of all new qualifications.
  • The number of workers with Postgraduate qualifications is projected to increase by the greatest proportion across all scenarios.

Workforce with varoius qualifications, all scenarios

Field of education

  • Management and Commerce is projected to remain the largest field of education in 2022.
  • The proportion of the workforce with Society and Culture qualifications is projected to grow by the largest rate, followed by those with Creative Arts qualifications.
  • Management and Commerce is projected to be the largest field of education possessed by those with Postgraduate, Bachelor and Advanced Diploma and Associate Degrees.
  • Education is projected to be the largest field of education possessed by those with Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate qualifications.
  • Under all scenarios, more than one-third of Certificate-qualified workers are projected to have an Engineering and Related Technologies qualification by 2022.

Changes in fields of education by scenario compared with 2017

Level of education combined with field of education

The modelling shows little proportional change between the scenarios and the 2022 baseline, although actual numbers of each Field of Education are projected to grow under each scenario.

  • By 2022, more than 35 per cent of Certificate level qualifications are projected to be in Engineering and Related Technologies; 16 per cent are in Management and Commerce; and 14 per cent in Architecture and Building.

Growth of qualification levels by field of education to 2022

Proportion of qualification levels by field of education, 2022

No data tool is yet available, but data can be supplied upon request.

Last updated 14 May 2020