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Australian Job Postings Through May 7: Strong Ahead of the Budget


Australian hiring activity remained elevated through early May, with job postings 44.6% above their level on February 1 last year.

We regularly update this report to track the pandemic’s effects on the labour market. Our methodology changed at the start of 2021, as explained in the methodology note at the end of the post.

Job postings on Indeed are a real-time measure of labour market activity. On May 7 they were tracking 44.6% ahead of their level on February 1 last year, our pre-pandemic baseline, after adjusting for seasonal trends. 

Postings have surged following Easter and the end of the JobKeeper wage subsidy on March 28 appears to have no ill-effect on hiring trends nationally. 

In 2020, job postings plunged from mid-March until late April, falling by half, and then gradually improved over the remainder of the year. Victoria’s lengthy second lockdown slowed the recovery, creating a temporary divergence between Victoria and the rest of Australia. 

Thankfully, there appears to be no lasting impact on Victorian recruitment and short-term lockdowns in New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria have had minimal hiring impact. 

Short-term lockdowns appear likely to continue going forward due to the slower than anticipated vaccine rollout. However, provided they only last a few days we shouldn’t expect any meaningful impact on hiring trends. 

Some moderation at state-level

Over the past two weeks, we have seen moderation in posting levels across states such as Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania. To be clear, postings in these states are still high and well above their pre-pandemic baseline. 

Job postings in Australia’s two most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria, continued to strengthen. Postings in both states are close to 50% above their level on February 1 last year. Postings in both the ACT and Western Australia are at a similarly high level.  

Hiring continues to improve in most occupational groups

Australia’s hiring recovery has been impressive and, although there are some occupations lagging behind, most are heading in the right direction. 

The top three occupations for job postings, cleaning & sanitation, loading & stocking and food preparation, remain unchanged from two-weeks ago. Postings in cleaning & sanitation and loading & stocking have been strong throughout the recovery, now more than double their pre-pandemic level. Postings for food preparation have surged now that restaurants are operating at capacity. 

Leaping to fourth, from tenth two-weeks ago, was logistical support. Postings for these roles are now 85% above their level on February 1 last year. Personal care and childcare roles weren’t far behind. 

Postings for most of the ‘worst performing’ occupations are now either above last year’s baseline or have improved recently. Just four of the 50 occupations assessed had posting levels that were below their pre-pandemic baseline. 

Hospitality & tourism has consistently been the worst performing occupation in terms of postings, devastated by lockdowns and restrictions on domestic and international travel. Postings for veterinary roles, a relatively small category, and beauty & wellness are also quite weak. 

Australia’s hiring momentum continued throughout early May in the lead-up to the federal government’s 2021-22 budget. Fiscal spending will remain elevated over the next few years, vastly exceeding estimated spending before the pandemic, providing support for economic activity, recruitment and employment. Targeted support for sectors such as hospitality and aviation will also help two of the sectors that continue to be impacted by COVID-19. 

Methodology

All figures in this blogpost are the percentage change in seasonally-adjusted job postings since February 1, 2020, using a seven-day trailing average. February 1 last year is our pre-pandemic baseline. We seasonally adjust each series based on historical patterns in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Each series, including the national trend, occupational sectors, and sub-national geographies, is seasonally adjusted separately. 

We adopted this new methodology in January 2021 and now use it to report all historical data. Historical numbers have been revised and may differ significantly from originally reported values. The new methodology applies a detrended seasonal adjustment factor to the percentage change in job postings. In contrast, our previous methodology used the 2019 change between February 1 and the reported date as the adjustment factor, which implicitly included both a seasonality component and the underlying trend. 

This blogpost is based on publicly available information on the Indeed Australia website and any other countries if named in the post. Unless specified otherwise, it is limited to Australia, is not a projection of future events, and includes both paid and unpaid job solicitations.

Comments for Business Insider:

“Competition for talent remains high across the country, with job openings remaining well above normal levels,” said Callam Pickering. “Near-term skill-shortages may emerge in some occupations or be exacerbated in others, particularly in highly-skilled areas that have traditionally relied on skilled migration.”

“The federal budget provides further optimism for hiring. By prioritising economic repair over budget repair, the federal government is seeking to push the unemployment rate to levels not seen since before the GFC. That’s good news for both employers and jobseekers.”

“This was a big-spending budget that should create jobs across the country, supporting hiring activity. Strong job postings typically point towards strong employment growth in the coming months and so we should be optimistic around the near-term employment outlook.”

“And the longer these hiring trends persist the greater the likelihood of stronger wage growth particularly in those areas where skill-shortages emerge. The federal budget was fairly pessimistic on that front – only expecting wage growth to return to pre-pandemic levels – but strong employment growth could rapidly change that dynamic.”