What will Santa bring the Australian Job Market in 2018?

by Directioneering

In February 2018, Directioneering will formally launch our new quarterly Labour Market Insights Report designed to provide our executive candidates, our clients and our alumni with a deeper understanding of the Australian employment market and industry demand. In the meantime here is a brief snap shot of some of the insights you can expect in this report as we look back over 2017 and try to predict 2018.

The complex Australian labour market 

The Australian labour market has confounded many analysts throughout the course of the year and has ultimately proved to be stronger than expected with the national unemployment rate at a five year low at 5.4% and nearly 300,000 full time jobs and 58,000 part time jobs created in the last year.

The soon to be launched Directioneering Job Ads Index shows that most industries have experienced a period of increased demand for workers in 2017.

Graph 1 – Directioneering Job Ads Index: Demand for roles by industry from Q3 2015 to Q3 2017

Graph 1 Labour Market Insights

Graph 2 – Directioneering Job Ads Index: Demand for roles by industry from Q3 2015 to Q3 2017

Graph 2 Labour Market Insights

It has also been interesting to see the rise in demand in the mining sector with our Job Ads Index showing strong growth in this sector however this should also be kept in context as the mining industry still employs relatively few people in Australia.

In raw job ad numbers, the healthcare industry, followed by the public sector, professional services, retail and education and training have shown the highest demand for employees based on the number of roles advertised and we expect to see these industries continue to perform well in 2018.

Skills in demand

Relationship management and project management were the skills most in demand in 2017 and again we expect to see the demand for these skills continue in 2018 as the Australian economy and business continue to see the pace of change escalate.

The Federal Government’s Report – Employment Outlook to May 2022, shows that jobs growth for all sectors is likely to be highest for professional workers with also strong demand for community service workers and management personnel.

Graph 3 – Federal Government’s Report: Projected employment growth to May 2022

Graph 3 Labour Market Insights

Whilst employment demand is set to continue in 2018, this demand and the reduction in spare capacity within the labour force is not yet feeding in to stronger wage growth, with the latest quarterly Wage Index still showing weak growth. It may yet take some time before we see wages start to increase with the Under Employment Rate (people wanting more hours) still hovering around 8%. However there is good news for those wondering about a pay rise in the future, with number of hours worked up 3.4% over the same time last year. In the construction sector the high demand for tradespeople is already starting to create skills shortages in these areas, placing some upward pressure on wages and threatening to escalate costs across the record number of infrastructure projects on the east coast.

So as we head in to the holiday period Australian job seekers can be confident that there is a lot to be optimistic about in the Australian labour market in 2018 and we look forward to working with you to help you achieve your goals.