Australian job market booming

Posted October 13, 2011, by Josie Chun

The Australian job market is in full recovery mode, with the total number of advertised jobs rising by 19.1 per cent in February – the biggest monthly jump in job ad numbers in 11 years.

More than 207 000 jobs have been created since last June, amounting to almost 1000 new jobs per day. Business confidence is at an eight-year high and one in five employers plan on hiring new staff in the next year.

With the unemployment rate falling to 5.3 per cent in January, the National Australia Bank is predicting that unemployment will fall further to 4.75 per cent by the end of the year, and 4.25 per cent by the end of 2011.

The resources sector is driving economic growth and the greatest increase in job ads has occurred in South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. In the eastern states, the greatest growth is occurring in accounting, administrative, legal and information technology jobs.

These latest statistics are all positive indicators of a strengthening economy, substantial employment growth and growing business confidence.

‘The figures for this quarter show that the Australian employment market has come full circle, returning to employment levels seen before the economic downturn,’ says Lincoln Crawley, Managing Director of Manpower Australia and New Zealand.

The latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey reveals that job seekers can look forward to the best prospects they’ve had in a year. Hiring intentions continue to grow as more employers plan to hire and fewer plan to reduce staff.

The greatest employment optimism can be seen in the services, finance, insurance, real estate, manufacturing, mining and construction industries. A skills shortage will become particularly evident in the mining and construction sectors.

In order to meet increased work demands during this recovery phase, employers will need to strategically manage their hiring practices by mixing contingent (temporary employees, outsourced workers, contractors and consultants) with permanent workers.

‘It is going to be a balancing act for many of these industry sectors – they don’t want to peak too early and hire before the demand is there but they don’t want to be left behind in the renewed race for talent,’ says Crawley.

‘The winners in the post-recovery world will be the companies that leverage contingent workers as workforce accelerators. These employers have mastered the art of managing a flexible mix of permanent and contingent workers to optimise performance, increase speed of execution, build talent capability, keep fixed costs low and do more with less.’

‘As we move towards more flexible ways of working to suit lifestyle changes, it is time to start leveraging the contingent workforce strategically to gain access to people with scarce, specialised skill sets, outsource non-core business functions, try out candidates before hiring for full-time positions, and provide longer-term workforce flexibility,’ says Crawley.

Josie Chun

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