A recent analysis of online job ads in Australia found that an increasing number of employers are seeking health, safety and environment (HSE) practitioners with formal qualifications.
While 86 per cent of ads requested such qualifications, many of those not requiring qualifications were for very senior positions, where a track record would be the dominant selection criterion.
Conducted by Leo Ruschena, a senior lecturer in OHS at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology's School of Applied Science, the analysis found the wording of qualifications requirements within the advertisements varied widely.
About a fifth of all OHSE jobs look for someone with a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment as well as the OHS qualification as the job contains a health and safety training component, according to Ruschena.
The main qualifications specifically requested for jobs in the construction and mining industries were TAFE Certificate IV or Diploma, although many companies were asking for university qualifications.
The analysis, which covered the health, safety and environment categories for Australia and New Zealand within SEEK between January and February over 2009, 2010 and 2011, found a significant number of employers wanted qualifications, but were vague on the subject, using terms such as "formal", "relevant" or "tertiary" qualifications.
"Now industry is hungry for qualified and competent OHS professionals and is prepared to pay for them," said Ruschena.
"Anecdotally, the ‘quality' of the required qualification seems to be rising with those industries that previously did not require a qualification now asking for Certificates IV minimum, and those that previously asked for Certificates IV, are now seeking Diplomas or Degrees."