14
Jul
2016
article

SEEK Employment Trends: Australian job market impacted by Brexit

June 2016 proved to be a more eventful month than expected. The end of the financial year was coupled with an impending Federal Election and a Brexit result that shocked the world. While the latter two events may have caused some uncertainty within the Australian market, one thing is for sure – SEEK job ads were on the rise.

The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows that SEEK job ads for June 2016 were up year-on-year by 3.2%. Growth was experienced across the majority of sectors; however, the Brexit result did seemingly cause a minor tremor. Year-on-year growth would have been close to reaching almost 5%; however, the last four business days in June, which coincided with the Brexit announcement, saw a temporary dip.

“Market volatility and uncertainty in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the EU appears to be the likely reason for this unforeseen drop in job ads on SEEK in late June,” says Michael Ilczynski, Managing Director of SEEK Employment.

Industries on the up

Despite the short-lived dip in SEEK job ads at the end of June, experts describe the finish to the financial year as strong. “There was obviously a bit of surprise around Brexit but, for the companies we work with, recruitment was already underway,” says Brodie MacDougall, Regional Director – Western Australian at recruitment firm Michael Page. “It will be a few months until we see if there’s a real hangover from Brexit.”

SEEK job ads for the farming, animals and conservation sector have been strong relative to the past five years and have been increasing in recent months. The sector led the way for year-on-year job ad growth in June, rising by 31% and the average advertised salary was $75,186. McDougall notes that agricultural logistics and account management roles are experiencing strong demand across the sector. “We’re also seeing much of the investment in capital equipment that was going into mining now going into agriculture,” he says. “This may explain a growth in the sector.”

SEEK job ads for the government and defence sector were also up by 30% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $91,460. Marketing and communications job ads were up by 11% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $86,425. Peter Noblet, Senior Regional Director with recruitment firm Hays, says the Federal Election may have created a link between these two sectors. “With the election going on, there was a lot of activity within government and there would have been a major increase in communications staff within that sector, so it may have been a double whammy,” he says.

Australia’s construction industry has been strengthening over the past four months and job ads rose by 8% year-on-year in June 2016 with an average advertised salary of $106,348. Meanwhile, the trades and services sector has seen strong levels of advertising relative to the past five years and this has been increasing in recent months. SEEK job ads for the sector were up by 7% year-on-year in June 2016 and the average advertised salary was $63,664.

“Construction has been up and that’s having an impact on trades,” explains MacDougall. “As the mining boom has finished, some good quality trades staff have come into the market and governments have pulled the levers to start some pretty significant infrastructure projects.”

A decline in some sectors

Although the positive results for June 2016 were spread across most sectors, some experienced a decline in SEEK job ads.

SEEK job ads for banking and financial services roles were down by 8% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $87,978. The sector has been experiencing a downward trend in job ads for the past four months and while Noblet says this may be a result of greater cost efficiencies, he is still seeing positive signs in the market. “Our business is seeing a fair bit of buoyancy in the senior end of the banking and financial services space,” he says.

The accounting sector also experienced a 4% year-on-year dip in SEEK job ads and the average advertised salary was $83,110. The sector has seen low levels of job ads relative to the past five years and this has not changed in recent months. John Thompson, General Manager – South Australia with recruitment firm Hudson, says a number of accounting roles are now being automated or offshored. “A lot of the processing roles that companies had as part of their teams just don’t exist anymore,” he says.

Trends across the states

A downward trend in SEEK job ads continued in the mining states of Queensland and Western Australia. “In WA, unfortunately, the decrease in mining headcount over the past few years has not been balanced with recruitment in non-mining sectors,” says MacDougall. “Broadly speaking, it’s still very challenging and headcounts are still under review.”

June 2016 delivered more encouraging news for South Australia, where SEEK job ads have increased for the fifth consecutive month. Trends remained strongest in the non-mining states of New South Wales, Victoria and ACT. Meanwhile, job ads in the Northern Territory have been stable over the the past four months and there has been little change relative to the past five years. In Tasmania, SEEK job ads have been strong relative to the past five years and the levels have remained stable in recent months.

While there was a temporary dip in the number of SEEK job ads posted during the last four days of June 2016, which coincided with the Brexit announcement, it wasn’t enough to take the shine off the results for June 2016. It will be interesting to see how the market responds in the months ahead.

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