Vocational Education and Training: Myths, realities and the future of skills in Australia

Monday, May 22, 2017

Over the past few months it has been our delight to have worked with Skilling Australia Foundation to research, write and design a ground-breaking report on vocational education in Australia.

This report, released today, gives an overview of the trends currently impacting the Australian workforce and outlines responses that will help futureproof the local economy amidst these global megatrends.

The transition of the workforce from the currently dominant Baby Boomers and Generation X to Generations Y and Z will require different and more diverse solutions to previous intergenerational transfers. As this report points out, the need to be innovative, collaborative and responsive require more emphasis on vocational education and training (VET) in addition to our well regarded higher education sector. In a multi- career era, it is upskilling and retraining that will create a nimble and relevant workforce. In this technologically transformative society, today’s new workers will have to be lifelong learners, with hands-on skills not just academic qualifications, and a focus on productivity not just theory. In these economically fluctuating times, tertiary education will increasingly be required to deliver a return on investment, direct employment outcomes and strong career earning. In all of these areas it is the VET sector that offers compelling solutions to these emerging needs.

This report clearly shows the key role of the VET sector in these transformed times. It also highlights the need to prioritise, promote and position the sector to respond competently to the current needs and opportunities of the Australian economy.

The VET sector is more than just a partner in equipping the emerging workforce, it is the first foundational rung in Australia’s future economic prosperity.

For more information or to access the report, visit Skilling Australia Foundation here.


External Trends Impacting the NFP Sector in 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The year 2017 has begun in an environment of perplexed global sentiment. From Brexit to the election of President Trump, the last 9 months have been far from a smooth ride on the world stage, showing a trend towards growing isolationism and increasing uncertainty.

At the national level, for most advanced economies, this uncertainty has bred an increase in nationalism, and a move away from globalisation. In Australia, our response – in part fuelled by our strong work ethic and historic undercurrent – makes us all just want to ‘get on with it’ and get the job done.

For the not for profit sector, this means working hard at strategic initiatives, managing external risk, and taking bold initiatives to engage donors. Our conversations with the NFP sector at this time of year often involves developing strategic brand tracking to measure public engagement, or testing specific brand assets to develop powerful advertising campaigns.

Yet, before delving into the tools of marketing and communications, it is critical that NFPs grasp the trends and undercurrents taking place in the external environment, particularly those that impact donor giving. Here are three trends we feel are critical for the NFP sector to grapple with in 2017:

1. Charity saturation and the need for brand differentiation

According to JBWere’s Cause Report (2016), Australia has 56,894 NFP organisation, one NFP for every 422 individuals. The number of not for profit organisations has doubled every 20 years over the last 60 years – and despite cancelling and closure of some charities by the ACNC, there are still around 10 new charities established every business day.

2. Overall decline in public giving necessitating new fundraising initiatives

Charitable giving has been lower in Australia in 2016 than in years prior. The NAB Charitable Giving Index indicates that national giving is down, by a decrease of 0.3% growth in the 12 months leading up to Aug 2016. This compares to 5.1% growth a year earlier. While there has been resilience in the Australian economy during this time, consumers are more cautious than before, reflected by these figures.

3. Younger generations giving less and seeking experiential engagement

60% of Australian donors agree that charities will face a more difficult future as younger generations don’t seem to volunteer in an ongoing way or give as much as the generations before them (McCrindle Australian Communities Trends Report, 2016). NAB data shows that those aged 15 to 24 give just $135 on average, annually, to charities, compared to those over 65 who give $452 on average.


A number of these trends are explained by a rise in the cost of living across Australia. Take Sydney housing as a case example of the growing cost of living pressures. In 1975, Sydney house prices were just 5x average annual earnings. By 1995 they had risen to 6x average annual earnings, but today – when taking the average annual salary of $80,000 per year and the median house price of well over $1 million – the average house price is 13x the cost of an average annual full-time salary.

Australian donors are finding it more difficult to give, and to give regularly. As the traditional, dependable, regular donor shrinks as a proportion of all donors, new types of donors are emerging –brand responders and opportunity givers.


Brand responders and opportunity givers donate sporadically, in an ad-hoc way. These types of donors are still more likely to give to a single charity or cause than to multiple causes, and have a strong preference for a particularly cause or charity.

Through speaking with more than a dozen NFP experts, 54 donors face to face, and surveying 1,500 Australians, we have identified four key next steps for the charitable sector to take into account in 2017:

1. Develop Multi-Tiered Levels of Engagement

Donors want to be involved with charities, but on their own terms. Rather than fixed contracts, they desire flexible giving and varied involvement. The demand for personalisation is growing as donors expect charity engagement suited to their age and life stage.

2. Build Communities for Social Impact

Australian donors desire to be part of a community of activists that bring about social change. They want to be involved in something bigger than themselves, knowing that together they can make a difference. This is not just ‘clicktivism’, which is seen merely as a form of virtue signalling through web-based activist organisations. Globally, networks like Avaaz.org and Change.org have created opportunities for real-life engagement of social issues, facilitated first through online platforms.

3. Communicate Results in Real-Time

Donors want real-time results and transparent reporting of admin costs. Platforms such as GiveDirectly.org now enable donors to give directly to an individual living in extreme poverty via mobile giving. KIVA, a lending platform facilitating crowd-sourced micro loans across the globe, displays the giving of loans in real-time via an interactive world map. When donors have this type of visibility, trust and engagement follow.

4. Create Fun and Engaging Experiences

The donor of the future is looking for participation and memories created through experiences. Nearly half (46%) of 18-29 year-old Australian donors have volunteered for a charity (compared to 31% of 30+ donors), and they are looking to do so in new, fresh ways. This is not just contained to events and a physical presence at sporting events or music festivals. Many young donors (1 in 4 of those aged 18-29, compared to just 11% of 30+ year-old donors) prefer the creative challenge of conducting their own fundraising events, providing them with the opportunity to harness their unique gifts and talents for a great cause.

-Eliane Miles


For more information on Australian Donors, see the Australian Communities Trends Report Infographic.

Connect with us if you would like more information on environmental scanning for strategic forecasting.


Eliane Miles is a social researcher, trends analyst and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a data analyst she understands the power of big data to inform strategic direction. Managing research across multiple sectors and locations, she is well positioned to understand the mega trends transforming the workplace, household and consumer landscapes. Her expertise is in telling the story embedded in the data and communicating the insights in visual and practical ways. Download Eliane's professional speaking pack here.

To inquire about Eliane presenting at your next event, please feel free to get in touch.

Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


Black Friday in Australia vegetarian Assistant Store Manager Generation X ACF17 events brisbane collaborative global generation house prices video census results Love conference Black Friday case study February 16 gig dessert demographic population urban PSI litter goals cartodb rain millionth mccrinlde small business Real Estate Institute of Victoria financial future Channel 7 graphs Elderslie-Harrington park mother's day 2015 GPO ACF2017 marketing The Daily Edition shopper's pick education research apartments forecast energy business poker master ageing population Tuesday Trend poor demographics global relevant wage commute Christmas day stats Christmas data McCrindle Keynote Speakers innovation organisations economic bondi future-proof Western Australia living father's day media release infographics Aussie states event sydney speaker young people darwin perth suburban living student mentor logan Sydney cancelling plans sunny days Andrew Duffin Australian schools online Queensland twentyseventeen university professional investing friends learning styles screenage Work place group session the hills shire Tasmania DESTEL nfp McCrindle Speakers goal media trends of 2017 futurist royal family forum parents 2013 women growth of sydney public speaking woolworths unemployment men tips Merry Christmas huffington post research ACF 2016 schools careers gen z Australian community trends ashley mckenzie state census fail dream qualitative research know the times REIV Conference Lower Hunter bus engagement rich Geoff Brailey rise of local entrepreneur casual google New Zealand omnibus Christmas presents australian Sydney keynote speaker Jura Coffee Mark McCrindle Aussies Royals population milestone Duchess of Cambridge census data supply and demand shifts faith SA social shifts social researcher census 2016 travel Performance Sentiment Index university degree James Ward JOMO Hunter Valley stay home demographic trends australian communities trends report meetings business index toys society trends affordability baby education future cultural diversity insight millennials optus my business awards financial planning Australian Dream 24 million wages communications high density career brands environment overcast click commuting TED leader population growth internships shbc paying to work choice workers school satisfaction global financial crisis couple Jura Australia schools students research on coffee future proof population map ipswich national crime rates urban development 2017 professional development social issues social analyst winter IT Specialists housing experience year 12 Australia Day 2017 budget sports researcher report trend meals speakers emerging technologies rental stress the changing face of emerging generations teach research visualisation going out employment Tuesday Trends waverton public holiday quote baby name trends work from home sydneysider village Christmas research community engagement Hills Shire Council digital economy Macquarie University results non profit workplace culture christmas trees screenagers 24,000,000 families cooking earnings Australian communities CBD tattoos Australia street increasing densification debt charity personalities Valentine’s Day sector wide study do people still change their surname after marriage? city global generations future of work SMSF selfie capital city holiday follow retirement grandparents lalor park Engineering Manager Deaths generation alpha unaffordable weather growing population staying in Northern Territory 1975 norwest ACT Report teachers royal influence christmas 2017 dreaming focus group jobs of the future prince george world youth day mccrindle research greatness buildings tv Sydney Hills Business Chamber Kirsten Brewer Research Director demographer work mates social impact dare to dream hello fresh society australian communities forum cars survey Understanding and Engaging with Generation Z typical australian youth unemployment news volunteering spirituality school gen alpha cost ideas future of shopping cost of living breakfast changing face of sydney households builders capital cities cica not for profit data visualisation divorce new office Australian Communities Trends global generaion home ownership seasons baby names report optus Australian Home aussie culture generation Z census office ultimo social change employers global retail purpose princess charlotte seasons greetings conference speaker trades emerging trends live the dream forecasting sun marrickville wealth 1994 celebration baby name predictions internship curiosity long weekend wolloomooloo hornsby investor surname Financial Planning Association affordable wellbeing Mark McCrindle in the media life HSC youth innovative Australia Day parenting intern house price rise charities 2009 consumer digital plans pharmacies equip leadersip Netflix Christmas season Real Estate average sydneysider future social media faux-cilise Australian demographics statistics students child care 40 million moreton bay cancel plans suburbs food insecurity potts point 1968 house generation world speaker maiden menai housing growth eliane customer World Water Day sydney market speajer manly "know the times" 2014 healthy future owning a home define internet Caregiver Northern Beaches TED talk technology public transport chairty hopes learner christian Black Friday Sales McCridle mover and shaker sector cold not-for-profit lifestyle car apartment contiki Myth gold coast New South Wales blaxland india mythbusters publication demography earning weekly earnings CPI January 26th baby names australia report What is food insecurity? politics Research Executive care support NBRS TEDx Speaker NEETs jobs employmee social lives shopping Canberra social research hills shire research report Territory Melbourne offenders sustainable gender social trends wealth and income distribution Generation Y Social Trend Christmas day weather Cobbitty-Leppington household challenge ashley fell transport Population Clock teaching mateship infographic wall sydney property market culture rising house prices megatrends insights South Australia SMART urban living Births program Northern Beaches Christian School ABS Wagga Wagga victoria cloudy days middle class national wealth English summer System's Architect shopping centre mccrindle tea spend narcissism social analysis Australian Census Skilling the great screenage business performance travelling home owner land of the middle class ACF crime royal local communities USA volunteering data new york times HR social commentary 2016 census results gig economy Sydney population cancelling event food bank happiness geomapping average Australian social enquiry commuters belief mccrindle in the media trends financial fears money professional speaker australians staying home more the average aussie home learning hobart post rationalism investment Channel Seven slideshare engage winter blues VET acf15 urban taskforce Bathburst brand giving conference presentation NT who is generation z mccrindle area Australians Australian Population Christmas in Australia national private wealth authenticity organisational culture teleworking Australian Bureau of Statistics easy rider VIC fresh deloitte financial aged care puzzle real fears not for profit research social life resource christianity happy holidays nativity scene future of education divorce rate office opening collaboration income training brand experience community event townhouses micro surnames Christmas Stats daily commute focus groups education #censusfail rule keeper the lucky country in depth interviews facts criminal Retail eliane miles priorities trends of 2016 house price residents 2016 change product NFP event group coffee lovers monarchy Australian Families school students leadership workshop The ABC of XYZ workshop recap easter wealth distribution ferry royal baby wealth inequality speakers pack research pack tertiary education volunteers Financial Planning Week communication newspaper finance Lower Hunter Region presentations Vocational education friendship Business analysis staff TDE interactive data analyst safe sunburnt country australian community trends report Kiwi year 7 urban living index thrive McCrindle Speaker donate visual alpha award marriages young australians Wellington data renter of the future language high school workplace ageing Financial Planning Association of Australia marriage presentation Queensland: QLD clothing resilience financial dreams ethnography US indonesia FPA snapshot crows nest responsive australian real estate conferences entrepreneurs of today Maxim Accounting research services suburb educated generations generational trends media commentary Charlotte New Zeland younger generations DIY debate social researchers ease of travel earn vegemite aged care renting mobile teacher analysis wedding 2012 keynote the hills baby names identity Crime Rates keynote speaker Mount Annan-Currant Hill Adelaide employmer tea FOMO skills REIV National Conference entertainment public speaker EFF entrepreneurial media activity low density participants annual income TAS survey design sydney event local dreams Hornsby Shire Council 1980 motivate property price research data economy socialising education future report thought leadership millenials housing affordability property market names environmental scanning 1995 proactive infographic church etiquette pyrmont demographic transformations Gen X VET sector socialites google for education Northern beaches Event study baby boom rent office space repayments professional presenters outsourcing education sector consumerism optimistic kate middleton Wodonga water panel salary Sydney’s south west communities trend tuesday TEDx 2016 census culturally diverse children neutral bay average aussie food Res Vis maiden names Australian Trends high density living daily telegraph hills future proofing community australia social impact learn tableau government list Willowdale cultural diveristy religion work-life baby name domestic personal growth professional services wealth and income property baby boomers award winner australian social research hunger volunteer Gen Y communicate the australian dream christmas Word Up 23 million growth tuesday showreel mining boom 10 years Gen Z Expert medicine leadership balance sentiments faux-cilising storytelling faux-ciliser SRE bureau property development ACT educhat holidays WA networking micro apartments high density apartments china donation sydney metro Sydney Lifestyle Study local community sector wide sydney hills sydneysiders housing trends Scouts story financial independence Christmas lunch anzac moderators guide cash pharmacy visualisation market research grave decision coffee family mythbusting workforce social commentator online shopping mortgage Education Future Forum relational in the media housing market work NBRS Architecture Do It Yourself train Christchurch trends analyst 2020 sydneycity NSW