SEEK Employment Trends: 2.7% year-on-year job ad growth in April 2016

April 2016 delivered more positive news for the employment market with SEEK job ads increasing year-on-year by 2.7%. The encouraging results were shared across the majority of sectors and only three industries recorded a year-on-year decline in job ads.

Andrew Morris, Director – New South Wales, Queensland and New Zealand at recruitment firm Robert Half, says the job market is in good shape. “You can read about a lot of doom and gloom in the market but we are certainly not seeing that,” he says. “We’re not in a bull market by any stretch of the imagination – it’s more of a moderate growing economy and that’s good news.”

Snapshot by industry

Innovation is a hot topic in Australia right now and this may be reflected in the increase in job ads for the science and technology sector, which grew by 46% year-on-year. The average advertised salary for the sector in April 2016 was $85,828.

Dylan White, Senior Partner with recruitment firm Denovo, says this sector may represent new economic growth for Australia. “We need to look at different sectors where we can add to our GDP,” he says. “With the mining boom over, we’re now looking to intellectual resources and so science, technology and research have become more prevalent.”

SEEK job ads for administration and office support roles were also up in April 2016, rising by 12% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $56,432. The construction industry also continued its growth trend, with job ads for the sector increasing by 12% year-on-year and the average advertised salary for April 2016 was $106,919. Job ads in the trades and services sector also grew by 17% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $63,433. The design and architecture sector additionally experienced significant growth, with SEEK job ads increasing by 25% compared to the same time last year and the average advertised salary was $80,063.

CEO and general management roles experienced a year-on-year increase in SEEK job ads of 13%. Bruce Davidson, Group CEO of recruitment firm Davidson, says this is due to the new leadership skills required to navigate an increasingly complex business world. “I think boards are recognising that the skill sets that have served their leadership teams now need to be added to and this is increasing the pool of executives within organisations,” he says.

Information and communication technology was another sector to record an increase in job ads for April 2016. They were 4% higher than the same time last year and the average advertised salary was $102,417. Morris says more companies are placing technology on the priority list. “A few years ago, one of the first things to go when the market was tight was back-end technology. The world has changed, and innovation and technology is now seen as providing greater return on investment, whether that’s in speed, efficiency or back-office programming that’s going to help the front office make more revenue.”

There were only three industries to experience a decline in SEEK job ads for April 2016. Sales dipped by 1% year-on-year, with the average advertised salary sitting at $80,334. The insurance and superannuation sector saw a year-on-year decline of 8% and the average advertised salary was $81,261. Meanwhile, SEEK job ads for the banking and financial services sector were down by 7% year-on-year; however, Morris is seeing signs of growth in some pockets of the industry. “We’re seeing increases, especially in compliance, risk and audit roles,” he says. The average advertised salary for banking and financial services was $88,657.

Trends across the states

Tasmania experienced a sharp rebound after a dip in SEEK job ads in March 2016. April also brought encouraging results for South Australia, where job ads have been increasing for the past few months. Job ads have also been growing in recent months in the Northern Territory, despite its exposure to the resources sector. Meanwhile, Western Australia experienced a decline in job ads in April 2016 and Queensland saw no change.

New South Wales and Victoria remain the strongest states for employment. NSW is experiencing increasing levels of job ads while Victoria is strengthening. “If you have a look at strengths across Australia, noticeably they are across NSW and Victoria versus the resources and mining sectors of Queensland and WA,” says Morris. “NSW and Melbourne, in particular, are really moving forward.”

Candidate availability

A mild overall tightening of the labour market continued in April 2016; however, candidate availability is increasing in WA, Tasmania and Northern Territory. Candidate availability in South Australia has been stable over the past four months and has been tightening in Queensland, although candidate availability levels remain high in the state.

Candidate availability has also been tightening over the past four months in New South Wales, ACT and Victoria.

With only three industries experiencing a year-on-year decline in SEEK job ads, April 2016 proved to be another encouraging month for the job market.

Stay up-to-date with the latest employment marketplace developments by signing up to the SEEK Employment Trends monthly email.