Australian Recruitment Market

Hot on the heels of our view of the UK recruitment market last month we look at Australia. What is happening in the ‘Lucky Country’. Does it still feel lucky?
A year ago all the press was talking about was as Australia being the lucky country. However the latest news is not all rosy, just think of the 1200 Ford workers who are now losing their jobs.
Indeed it not just Ford, the government expects the jobless rate to rise by a quarter of a percentage point to 5.75 per cent over the next year following the peak in the mining boom. The view from Economists and Business however, is even more pessimistic. The reports we are seeing are predicting a jobless rate of over 6 per cent and upwards as there is not enough growth in other sectors to pick up the slack.

Perhaps it is useful to put things in perspective. In the recent past Australia had an enviable jobs record. Since the Labor government came to power in 2007, total employment rose by 950,000. Compare this to the recessions elsewhere resulting from the GFC…?!

As a result of this strong jobs creation, Australia’s unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent is significantly below that of the US and less than half that of the Euro Zone (Compare it also to our view of the UK in last months job blog).

So things are not as bad as elsewhere. However compared to the recent past Australians are feeling it a lot tighter. We are certainly hearing that there are not as many unfilled vacancies about and that candidates are having to compete much more than perhaps they had to secure positions. Indeed, this feeling seems reflected in the jobless rate climbing 0.5% from the level a year ago. We outlined other measures in our view of the UK last month – so not to be outdone: the participation rate, which measures the share of the working-age population either in or seeking employment, has been on a downward trend since it peaked at 65.9 per cent in 2010. It is now 65.3 per cent. It seems if this had not happened the effect would have much more widely felt. However this can’t go on and if trends continue we expect that there will be much more “news” about a tighter job market in Australia.

A postscript on last months UK Data
As some of you will know I have a soft spot for Reed as I used to work there and I rate their job board as being one of the best in the UK. They have just published their latest Reed Job Index, which is compiled using data from over 10,000 employers. It shows there were 8% more opportunities on offer in May than in April. Annually, the growth in new positions stands at over 17%. This reinforces our view that in employment terms things are not as tight as they perhaps appear in the press.