- Australian job postings on Indeed continued to rise during June and by month’s end were 127% above pre-pandemic levels.
- Australia’s unemployment rate is at a 48-year low of 3.5%.
- COVID-19 continues to be disruptive for Australian businesses, with sick-leave and illness forcing 5.2% of Australian workers to work reduced hours, well above normal levels.
This month’s labour market update focused on the continued strength in Australian job postings and the overall resilience of the Australian labour market.
Australian job postings gradually increased in June
Australian job postings continued to improve throughout June. Despite ongoing concerns around high inflation and rising interest rates, the demand for workers remains consistent with a further tightening of the Australian labour market.
By the end of June, job postings on Indeed were tracking 127% ahead of their level on February 1, 2020, our pre-pandemic baseline, after adjusting for seasonal trends. The number of postings rose by 2.9% in June and has increased by 51% over the past year.
Australian postings remain high by international standards, with growth well above that in the US, UK and Canada. While recruitment has been strong in each of these countries, Australia has consistently outperformed, with our recovery beginning earlier and remaining stronger despite repeated COVID-19 lockdowns.
Demand for workers still growing rapidly in some occupations
Over the past three months, job postings have grown by more than 20% in seven occupational categories, led by veterinary (+55.5%), personal care (+25.4%) and cleaning & sanitation (+25.3%).
By comparison, there are a number of occupations where postings have fallen quite considerably. Job postings for social science roles are down 18.9% over the past three months, with banking & finance (-14.8%) and childcare (-12.8%) also experiencing large declines.
Nevertheless, whether postings have increased or decreased in recent months, postings for every occupational category are above pre-pandemic levels. There is still strong demand for workers even among those occupations where postings have fallen considerably.
Australia’s unemployment rate at a 48-year low but watch out for COVID
In June, Australia’s unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, from 3.9% in May, to be at its lowest level since September 1974. This is consistent with the strong job creation that Australia continues to experience. Unemployment among women has fallen to just 3.4%, compared to 3.6% for men.
While the pandemic is having no discernible impact on unemployment or job creation, it’s still proving disruptive for many Australian businesses. From January to June this year, 5.2% of the Australian workforce worked fewer than normal hours due to sick-leave or illness, reaching 5.7% in June. That compares with an average of 3% over the same period from 2017 to 2021.
With case numbers climbing, it is likely that this measure will remain elevated over the remainder of the year.
Conclusion: Near-term tightening, but job creation could eventually soften
Overall, strong postings point towards further tightening of Australia’s labour market over the next few months. However, with the unemployment rate already at a 48-year low, the ability to fill some of these vacancies is a growing concern. Skill and talent shortages will surely become more prevalent in the near-term, with some jobs going unfilled for longer periods.
Furthermore, growing concerns over high inflation and rising mortgage rates could weigh on labour market conditions over the remainder of the year. Markets are pricing in a RBA cash rate of 3% by year end, compared with 1.35% currently, which will certainly be challenging for Australian businesses, particularly smaller ones.
As business costs rise, leading to tighter budgets and potentially lower profitability, we’d normally expect job creation to soften. Growing talk of an economic downturn or recession could also spook business leaders and lead to a more cautious approach to hiring.
All posting figures in this blog post are derived from seasonally adjusted job postings. 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 geographics is seasonally adjusted separately. We adopted this methodology in January 2021.
The national and regional analysis is based on the percentage change in job postings on Indeed’s Australia site since February 1, 2020, our pre-pandemic baseline.
The number of job postings on Indeed.com, whether related to paid or unpaid job solicitations, is not indicative of potential revenue or earnings of Indeed, which comprises a significant percentage of the HR Technology segment of its parent company, Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd. Job posting numbers are provided for information purposes only and should not be viewed as an indicator of performance of Indeed or Recruit. Please refer to the Recruit Holdings investor relations website and regulatory filings in Japan for more detailed information on revenue generation by Recruit’s HR Technology segment.
The data on unemployment and sick-leave come directly from the Australian Bureau of Statistics via their monthly labour force survey.