SEEK Employment Trends: spotlight on Melbourne, Victoria

Victoria’s capital city is growing up. With more than 100 skyscrapers higher than 100 metres in planning or already under construction, Melbourne will soon have the nation’s tallest skyline.

Roles in industries such as construction, architecture and engineering are required to support the city’s soaring ambitions and the latest data from the SEEK Employment Trends report shows a healthy demand.

Demand in the employment market was up by 9% year-on-year in January 2016 across the state. The SEEK Employment Index, which measures the availability of candidates for advertised positions, indicated a slight tightening of the state’s labour market compared to the same time last year, suggesting that it’s a little easier for job-seekers in Victoria to find employment.

Construction builds strength

Job ads for construction-related industries in Victoria also experienced a year-on-year growth. Demand for design and architecture grew by 36%, trades and services was up by 18%, engineering rose by 16% and demand in the construction sector increased by 9%.

Steve Shepherd, employment market analyst and Director of Social and Public Affairs Asia Pacific at recruitment firm Randstad, describes Melbourne’s job market as positive. “Melbourne is benefiting from construction that is going on in the city. That’s certainly fuelling jobs in various trades,” he says. “I think the investment in Melbourne, in terms of construction and rails lines, is creating a level of optimism in the job market.”

Industries on the rise

The government and defence sector showed the greatest increase in demand across the state in January 2016, growing 53% year-on-year. Job ads for science and technology also rose by 44% and demand for advertising, arts and media grew by 18%. CEO and general management roles were up by 13%.

With a capital city known for its restaurant culture, Victoria’s hospitality and tourism sector experienced a 5% growth in demand compared to the same time last year. “People like to visit Melbourne, but clearly we’re always behind the [Great] Barrier Reef in terms of tourism,” laughs Shepherd.

Victoria saw a small year-one-year rise in retail trade in December 2015 and job ads for the retail and consumer products sector grew by 11% in January 2016 compared to the same time last year.

Job ads for information and communication technology and sales also increased by 5% year-on-year. “I’d describe the sector in Melbourne as quite buoyant at the moment,” says David George, ‎Managing Director Western Australia and Victoria at recruitment firm Michael Page.

Shepherd agrees. “Melbourne has always had a strong ICT base. There are a few tech hubs in the city and the sector is looking good.”

Demand slips in some sectors

Although Victoria saw moderate levels of job ads in January relative to recent history, growth was not apparent across all industries. The sales sector saw the sharpest year-on-year decline for the state, with demand falling 7%. Job ads for the community service and development sector also fell by 6% compared to January last year and demand for accounting was down by 4%. The sports and recreation sector also saw a small decline of 3%.

The banking and financial services sector experienced a year-on-year decline in demand of 9% across the country and in Victoria job ads for the sector also slipped by 3% compared to the same time last year.

“Some areas are weaker than others, but the market in Melbourne feels moderate to good,” says George. “There’s a general feeling that we’re not firing quite as well as Sydney but, on the whole, the feeling is that we’re still going along quite nicely.”

Impact of the resources decline

While job ads in the mining, resources and energy sector were down by 22% year-on-year across the country, demand in the sector increased by 12% in Victoria compared to January last year.

SEEK Employment Managing Director, Michael Ilczynski, says the large employing categories of drill and blast mining and mining operations are both showing double digit growth year-on-year and this is driving demand in eastern states like Victoria.

“We’ve seen a big jump in demand for specialists in oil and gas production and refinement, however this is a relatively small employing sector,” he says. “There is a larger scale demand for labour in drill and blast roles with hundreds of opportunities, as well as in operations roles where there are thousands of advertised opportunities currently needing to be filled.”

The moderate growth in job ads for Victoria signaled a positive start to the year for the state. Construction-related industries showed good signs of demand compared to the same time last year and as the Melbourne skyline continues to rise, it will be interesting to see which sectors are ahead of the game in the months ahead.

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