SEEK Employment Trends: spotlight on Queensland

If you asked employment experts to describe the job market in Queensland 12 months ago, it would be a very different story to today.

The northern and central regions were worst hit by the downturn in the mining industry and the impact was felt throughout much of the state. Fast forward to April 2016 and Queensland’s market is looking up. Particularly, with the Commonwealth Games around the corner, experts are seeing further signs of growth on the horizon.

The decline of the resources boom took much of the glow from the Sunshine State but Robert Lyster, Regional Director of Queensland for recruitment firm Michael Page, says confidence is returning.

“About 12 months ago, we saw quite a dramatic drop but I feel that things have stabilised since then,” he says. “We are seeing a greater optimism in the general business services area and also business related to tourism, education, health and technology. I would say that while the Queensland economy is certainly not booming, there is a level of confidence in those sectors to hire.”

A stable climate

Bruce Davidson, Group CEO of recruitment firm Davidson, says the mining downturn was felt across a number of industries in Queensland. “There are a lot of businesses associated with the resources industry. It’s not just the mining, it’s also the gas industry, legal and accounting firms, environmental consulting and engineering,” he says. “A certain percentage of their revenue has declined as a result of the fall in the resources industry and they’ve had to adjust accordingly.”

Davidson adds that many companies in these sectors may not be adding to their head count when people resign. “They are allowing natural attrition to reset the cost bases to ensure they can get back to the desired profit margins,” he explains.

While Queensland’s mining, resources and energy sector experienced a 22% year-on-year decline in SEEK job ads in April 2016, positive signs of growth were seen across a range of other sectors in the state, and jobs have been stable for the past four months. The science and technology sector saw the greatest increase of 89% year-on-year, and government and defence job ads rose by 40% compared to the same time last year.

Growth in Queensland’s construction industry is mainly focused around the residential sector, with SEEK job ads up by 22%. “Residential construction is doing very well, particularly in Brisbane and the Gold Coast,” says Lyster.

Industries related to construction also experienced year-on-year job ad growth in April 2016. Design and architecture grew by 18% compared to the same time last year, and the trades and services sector was up by 8%.

SEEK job ads for Queensland’s marketing and communications sector were also up in April 2016, growing by 14% year-on-year. “We’re finding that there is strong demand for people in the digital marketing space at the moment,” says Lyster.  “That really comes back to marketers taking more innovative approaches.”

Commonwealth Games bring gold to the Gold Coast

The Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast will kick off in April 2018 and the impact is already being felt in the Queensland market.

“There is a significant number of projects in anticipation of the Games,” says Davidson. “It’s certainly contributed to the stimulus of things, like the residential real estate sector and even the retail and commercial sectors.”

Queensland’s real estate and property sector experienced a 7% year-on-year increase in SEEK job ads in April, and the retail and consumer products sector was up by 8%.

The impending Commonwealth Games may also have had an effect on the sports and recreation sector, which saw an increase in job ads of 48%. “I think the impact is being felt already,” says Davidson.

Hospitality and tourism slips in Queensland, as does insurance and superannuation

SEEK job ads remained strongest in the tourist regions of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast; however, Queensland’s hospitality and tourism sector experienced a small year-on-year dip of 2%. Lyster believes this may represent a small drop in a high volume of roles.

Queensland’s insurance and superannuation sector saw a 26% year-on-year decline in job ads in April. Sales roles were down by 7% and job ads for the accounting sector slipped by 5% compared to the same time last year.

The banking and financial services sector in Queensland also experienced a year-on-year decline in April 2016, with SEEK job ads down by 14%. Lyster says there are still positive signs in the market. “I’m not seeing a huge decline in this sector but banking and financial services in Queensland is not as large as what it is in New South Wales or Victoria.”

Despite declines across some sectors, SEEK job ads in Queensland remained stable in April 2016. Davidson expects these results to continue.The areas of health, education, construction and the public service are continuing to do quite strong business,” he says. “There’s really no reason why any of that should change.”

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