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Australia's employment prospects look bright

With the hiring optimism of Australia’s employers reaching pre-downturn levels, Australia’s employment future looks bright. The latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey of over 2200 Australian employers indicates that hiring intentions will continue improving over the next three months, with the seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook improving slightly to 24 per cent over the last quarter.

These results demonstrate that Australia’s employment prospects are among the strongest in the world. Compared to other countries, Australia’s economy performed well in the global financial crisis and now appears to be secure in its recovery.

‘The recovery has definitely hit the jobs market, with the employment outlook at its strongest point in two years. This is good news for job seekers, and the Australian economy,’ says Lincoln Crawley, managing director of Manpower Australia & New Zealand.

The job market improvement has returned to pre-downturn levels across all industries but is growing at a manageable pace, according to Crawley.

‘Movements in employment levels are becoming less volatile as the market returns to normal hiring patterns. The recovery pace is looking steady, but job seekers and employers alike need to be patient. It’s not going to be a quick return to boom times, and in any case, we wouldn’t want things to ramp up too quickly – no one wants to see a wages breakout that could push up inflation and interest rates,’ says Crawley.

The transport and utilities sector is one of the fastest growing (up 33 per cent this quarter compared to an increase of 14 per cent last quarter), with considerable improvement in employer hiring optimism. Other industries that have performed well are mining and construction (31 per cent growth, up from 27 per cent last quarter) and finance, insurance and real estate (28 per cent vs 23 per cent).

The most optimistic hiring plans are brewing in Western Australia (37 per cent growth, up from 24 per cent last quarter), while Tasmania’s employer optimism remains modest and lags behind the rest of the country (8 per cent, down from 15 per cent).

‘The strength of the labour market is always going to be varied across the country, with Western Australia employers currently buoyed by mining and construction activities in the area. However, we are noticing some evidence of a two-speed economy, with some states returning to pre-crisis levels faster than others,’ says Crawley.

The natural resources boom has helped to keep the nation’s economy afloat, but Crawley warns: ‘It is now essential to ensure skills shortages in the mining and resources sector don’t hinder the country’s renewed growth.’

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