Structural change and demand for skills in the Australian economy

  • Ross Kelly

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis examines the effect that structural change and, in particular, information and communication technologies (ICT) have had on skill demand, with the focus being on the structure of skills in the economy and the way skills are defined and measured. A novel approach to skill measurement is developed and used to determine the average skill level for four skill dimensions: cognitive, education, interactive and motor skills. Shift-share analysis covering between-industry and within-industry changes is undertaken for the period 1991 to 2006 using Census data. This is complemented by regression analysis to examine the determinants of within-industry skill change. The thesis examines both the causes of change and the distribution of change. That is, how skill changes have been distributed in terms of industry, occupation, location and gender. The main finding supports the central hypothesis of this thesis. That is, that there have been significant changes to the composition of skills in the economy and that these changes were substantially, but not solely, a result of technological change. Regression analyses were undertaken for the various skill dimensions – cognitive, education, interactive and motor – and provided further support to a vast body of international literature that ICT have been a critical driver of skill change.
Date of Award2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Canberra
SupervisorPhil Lewis (Supervisor) & Anne Daly (Supervisor)

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