SEEK Employment Trends: candidate availability and trends

There are many components to a successful workplace, and recruitment is perhaps the most important of them all. Getting the right team in place can enhance efficiency, boost workplace culture and increase your competitive edge.

The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends showed a high number of active candidates in the majority of states, so the opportunity for finding the right recruit is looking up.

Candidate availability across the states

If you’re looking for a candidate in Queensland, there was a high level of availability in February 2016; however, the number is beginning to tighten.

South Australia and Tasmania have both recorded high and increasing candidate availability over the past four months and, in good news for employers, in the Northern Territory, candidate availability has also been high and stable over the same period.

Candidate availability was also high in Western Australia. The weakness in the WA labour market appears to be accelerating, with the state experiencing a 20% year-on-year decline in SEEK job ads in February 2016.

Matt Gribble, Regional Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand at recruitment firm Michael Page, says the result matches the prolonged fall in the resources sector. “The decline in iron ore, oil and gas price at the start of the year also certainly had an impact on already low levels of business confidence in the state,” he says.

The employment market in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory has been healthy with SEEK job ads up 12%, 7% and 26%, respectively, compared to the same time last year. However, SEEK data shows a mild tightening of candidate availability in these states, equating to more competition to secure the best candidate.

How tough is the competition?

Candidate availability varied across industries in February 2016. The insurance and superannuation sector saw a high level of candidate availability and this has been increasing over the past four months. The engineering, sales and legal sectors also showed high levels and this has been the case since October 2015.

Candidate numbers in the information and communication technology sector were stable in February 2016. This was also the case for the banking and financial services sector; however, this industry did experience a 9% year-on-year decline in SEEK job ads compared to the same time last year. “Broadly speaking, the decline is a symptom of the financial services sector feeling some margin pressure and looking to manage their costs more effectively,” says Gribble.

The government and defence sector showed a lower level of candidate availability; however, the good news is that job ads were up by 55% year-on-year. Gribble says demand within this sector tends to be greatest where infrastructure spending is higher. “We’re certainly seeing this in states like NSW,” he says. “Any public sector investment requires people to manage it, so we are continuing to see a healthy demand in this sector.”

Results were also positive in the education and training industry with job ads up by 24% year-on-year. However, SEEK data shows lower levels of candidate availability in this sector in February 2016; although, Gribble describes the sector as healthy.

Casual and temporary employment

SEEK data for February 2016 shows a continuation of the relatively strong trend increases for non full-time roles, such as contract/temp positions, part-time and casual/vacation roles. “Organisations are now very focused on how they deliver better work-life balance for their employees,” says Steve Shepherd, Employment Market Analyst and Director of Social and Public Affairs Asia Pacific at recruitment firm Randstad.
Part-time work, whether that’s for parents or anyone with caring responsibilities or for people who want to study part-time, is becoming increasingly valued.

Shepherd adds that many candidates are now viewing contract or temporary work as a more secure option than full-time roles. “A temporary worker may work for multiple employers, so if it runs out with one, they will still get it somewhere else,” he says. “I think we’re seeing a rise of people looking at different choices and at what’s most important to them. I do think there’s a much stronger demand for flexible working arrangements and we’re seeing this around the world.”

Overall the level of candidate availability in February 2016 presented good opportunities for employers. Let’s hope the trend continues for the months ahead.

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