Missing links: Connections between skills, qualifications and pay in modern awards

National Centre for Vocational Education Research
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
23rd National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference 'No Frills': refereed papers, 2015, pp. 67 - 72
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
An assumed incentive for an individual to complete a VET qualification is the chance to earn higher pay. This paper examines the relationship between AQF qualifications, job roles and pay rates in Australia’s 122 modern awards. Modern awards directly determine the pay and employment conditions of around one in five Australian workers (many of them in VET-relevant occupations) and indirectly influence many more, by setting the standard for enterprise agreements. Each classification in each modern award was analysed and allocated to one of six categories describing the relationship between an AQF qualification and the pay rate, ranging from no mention of an AQF qualification to exclusive (only someone with that AQF qualification can be employed in that classification). Preliminary data suggest:  35 out of 122 modern awards contain no reference to AQF qualifications.  By contrast, 32 out of 122 modern awards contain at least one classification that guarantees an employee with a particular qualification a higher pay rate. The paper details how these patterns linking qualifications to classifications vary by industry. While awards in traditional blue collar areas such as manufacturing include extensive connections between AQF qualifications and job classifications, many modern awards in fast-growing service industries contain few, or no, connections
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