National Outdoor Sector Survey
Quantifying the outdoor workforce
Service Skills Australia and the Outdoor Council of Australia (OCA) run a biennial survey of the outdoor industries – responses from across the varied outdoor sector will give an insight into the current state and needs and of the sector’s volunteers and workforce, allowing for sound training and workforce development policy advice to be provided to state and federal governments. The National Outdoor Sector Survey (NOSS) responds to the industry’s concerns about the inadequacy of the available data, leaving the sector at a disadvantage when providing evidence of its contribution to the national economy and when seeking funding for training.
The NOSS seeks to learn more about the education providers, businesses, organisations, workers and volunteers in the Outdoor Sector. The survey asks organisations about any staff and/or volunteers, recruitment and retention, skills and training, and any future staff needs.
The key findings from the 2013 NOSS research are an interesting read, and are as follows:
- Outdoor Adventure Leaders are in high demand in the industry.
- The need for Outdoor Adventure Leaders is expected to continue to increase.
- The majority of roles in the sector are offered on a part-time/casual basis.
- Outdoor Adventure Leaders need to be skilled in at least 5 activities.
- Formal training or professional registration is not seen as a priority for the industry with the focus on relevant experience.
- Average staff turnover is 17.2% within organisations that answered the survey. Slightly higher than the national average across all industries (13%) but many organisations claim to retain staff for 10+ yrs.
- Cost and accessibility are the main reasons given for no training being provided.
- Demand for volunteers in the industry continues to be high but retention is an issue.
- Training for volunteers is not seen as a necessary investment by organisations that participated in this survey.
The Survey received 471 responses nationally. After data cleaning and removal of duplicate responses, the analysis contained in the NOSS is based on the responses from 275 organisations. This needs to be used when considering the findings presented in this document. As many of the findings were not conclusive, the approach has been to use the key points identified in the data to pose additional questions to the industry to provoke further discussion.
In August 2010, the Outdoor Council of Australia (OCA) began discussions with Service Skills Australia (SSA) about measuring and defining the ‘outdoor sector’ and its workforce. Through this consultation, a pilot survey was designed and launched in September 2010. The report on the results of this survey provides indicative data on the outdoor workforce. The OCA in association with Service Skills Australia runs the survey every two years, with the support from the sector. Over time, this will then provide greater information on the identity of the outdoor sector, the type of services offered and the qualification profile of the workforce. With this information we will be better placed to gain recognition in that national arena, and have data to inform our contribution to the National Economy, and the needs the sector has for training and workforce development.