A survey of Australian screen production companies has found that more than half have experienced a skills shortage when looking for crew.

The survey, undertaken by Screen Producers Australia, identified producer concern about opportunities for skills development in the screen industry, with 57 percent of companies reporting skills shortages when crewing film and television productions.

Production accountancy was identified as the area in which it was most difficult to find people with the required skills. The script department, interactive media, production management and post-production and visual effects rounded out the top five areas.

Executive Director Matthew Deaner said that he was aware that some companies were already importing skilled labour in some of areas, particularly editors.

“The survey highlighted not just the challenges associated with skills development and talent renewal, but also gives Screen Producers Australia a better understanding of what we can to do to assist our members in this area. It reinforces the need for a holistic approach that both nurtures new creative teams while also providing them with the business knowledge and production services that underpin the delivery of great content.

"As an organisation we are responding to this by expanding our professional development program through activities such as our sold-out series of Breakfast Briefings, Masterclasses and also new production services, such legal and commercial advice and contracting templates. Some of this work has already started and more is to come throughout 2014/15,” Mr Deaner said.

All producers surveyed indicated that on the job training was the most important attribute when employing crew and 85 per cent said that they had a commitment to ongoing training. 80 per cent said they would like to learn more about government support options to assist professional development.

"The Screen Producers Australia survey was designed to identify skills gaps, but also to better understand perceptions of different approaches to industry training.”

Mr Deaner said that a diverse range of more than 50 companies participated in the survey. The majority of the companies surveyed were diversified across different genres of production, with documentary and factual programming the most commonly cited followed by feature film and television drama.

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