SEEK Employment Trends: Jobs market ends year on a high

The year finished on a high for the Australian employment market. The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows a year-on-year increase in job ads in December as employers sought to finalise recruitment for what is predicted to be a busy year ahead.

SEEK job ads were up by 6.1% in December compared to the same time last year. “December has historically tapered off in terms of recruitment but now it’s business as usual,” says Adrian Oldham, Regional Director of recruitment firm Michael Page Australia. “More employers are wanting to get everything organised before the Christmas break and we’re finding that things are busy right up to the last working day of the year. People want to finish up for the year knowing that an offer has been made and accepted and the new recruit will be ready to start by February. This is another reason why it’s important to have streamlined recruitment processes in place.”

Mark Smith, Managing Director of recruitment firm People2People, says demand for casual and temporary roles was also strong in December. “Normally we see a dramatic decline in the lead up to the Christmas period but the demand for temporary roles remained solid in December, “ he says. “Sydney, in particular, held up really well for temp work in the areas of accounting and finance and customer service.”

Public sector leads the way

Government and defence was out in front for December with SEEK job ads for the sector increasing by 38% and the average advertised salary was $91,149.

“We saw strong demand, especially for procurement and supply chain roles from local governments right through to state departments,” says Oldham.

Smith adds contract and temporary roles are also growing in demand across the sector. “The NSW Government, for example, is one of the biggest employers of temp and contract staff in the state.”

SEEK job ads for engineering also increased year-on-year. They were up by 26% in December and the average advertised salary was $105,927. Mike Dickson, Director of recruitment firm Six Degrees, says candidates are in demand. “We’re seeing a strong call for senior project and design engineers at the moment,” he says.

Manufacturing, transport and logistics also increased by 7% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $73,427. “There is greater automation and a push for increased efficiency in manufacturing but this can create roles within the industry because people need to come in and manage the changes,” explains Dickson.

Hospitality and tourism also experienced growth in December with job ads up by 8% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $60,899. Trades and services was up by 7% compared to the same time last year and the average advertised salary was $63,980. Meanwhile, job ads for construction rose by 13% and the average advertised salary was $109,266. “The data is a good indication of demand but if you look out the window in cities like Sydney or Melbourne, the number cranes tells the same story,” says Smith.

A slip in some sectors

While most industries experienced year-on-year growth in December, some saw a decline. Banking and financial services was down by 14% and the average advertised salary was $88,723. Accounting also declined by 6% and the average advertised salary was $84,194. Smith says that while roles for transactional accounting roles have slipped, he is seeing strong demand for analysts.

Retail and consumer products also saw a decline of 12% and the average advertised salary was $59,951. Despite this, Dickson is noticing growth within certain areas of the industry. “While roles within large fast-moving consumer goods companies are slightly down, small-medium businesses are showing rapid growth,” he explains. “The smaller businesses are showing genuine innovation for their customers. They are typically more agile and are attracting more talent because they are doing things differently and are often proving to be more dynamic than some of the big players.”

Trends across the states

Job ads for Queensland and South Australia finished on a positive note in 2016. “Overall, it appears the semi-mining states of QLD and SA have picked up momentum,” says Michael Ilczynski, Managing Director for SEEK Employment. “Job ads in QLD rose 0.7% in trend terms in December, which reinforces gains made in previous months. SA is also experiencing considerable strength with annual growth of 18.9%.”

Although job ads in NSW remain strong relative to the past five years, the trend has been flat over the past four months. The trend in Western Australian has also been flat over the same period and the level of job ads remains low relative to the past five years.

High levels of job ads, relative to the past five years, were recorded for Victoria, ACT, Northern Territory and Tasmania. These locations have also been seeing an upwards trend over the past four months.

The last month of 2016 delivered positive results for the employment market. Will the trend continue throughout the new year? We’ll be keeping a close eye on the results!
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SEEK is the destination of choice for job-seekers and hirers in Australia, acting as the conduit between hirers looking to fill vacant roles and candidates looking for work across many and varied industries. SEEK's mission is to help people...

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