- Australian job postings continued to rise in December, following gains in both October and November. Postings in Australia remain well above our global peers.
- Postings in two-thirds of occupational groups rose over the past three months, led by gains in veterinary, social science and therapy roles.
- A larger than normal gap has emerged between Indeed’s job ads metric and the job vacancy measure from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
This month’s labour market update focuses on the ongoing strength in Australian job postings and the recent divergence between postings and job vacancies.
Australian job postings break higher
While concerns around high inflation and rising interest rates continue to build, the demand for workers rose again during the December lead-up to Christmas. This rise in demand suggests that Australian employers are still optimistic about economic conditions and the outlook for their respective businesses.
In December, job postings on Indeed rose by 2.9% compared to a month earlier, almost 21% higher than a year ago. That follows gains of 8.2% and 0.6% in October and November, respectively.
Australian job postings remain high by international standards, with growth well above 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.
The largest contributors to national posting growth in December were Queensland and New South Wales, where postings rose 7.3% and 3.2%, respectively. Postings in Western Australia rose 6.5%, while in Victoria they were up 1.3%.
Postings rise strongly across a range of occupations
Over the past three months, job postings have grown strongly in occupations such as veterinary (+64%), social science (59%), therapy (56%), dental (+46%) and nursing (45%). Postings in two-thirds of occupational groups have increased over the past three months.
Nevertheless, there have been some large declines, none bigger than the 14.6% fall in insurance postings. Logistic support (-12.7%), software development (-12.2%) and information design (-11.2%) also saw sizable declines.
Additionally, 9.9% fall in human resource postings is a bit ominous given the expectation that the labour market will soften next year.
Spotlight: job vacancies versus job postings
Indeed’s job posting metric and the job vacancy measure from the Australian Bureau of Statistics have tracked closely throughout the pandemic. However, in recent months there has been a larger than normal divergence between the measures.
On the third Friday in November, consistent with the methodology used by the ABS, Indeed job postings were tracking around 23% higher than the job vacancy metric, compared to its level in February 2020. It was the largest gap between the metrics since the pandemic began, with the gap widening considerably since May.
Right now, Indeed’s job posting metric suggests that demand for workers continues to rise whereas the ABS measure implies that demand for workers has softened over the past six months.
These two measures differ in several key respects and, in fact, measure subtly different things.
- A job vacancy refers to a single job opening whereas a job posting can refer to one or more job openings. For example, major retailers often put up a single job posting that refers to a dozen different jobs. By comparison, that would be measured as a dozen separate job vacancies.
- The ABS measure is based on a survey conducted on the third Friday in February, May, August and November, and refers to job vacancies that are available only on that particular day. The Indeed measure is updated daily but is based on the total number of job postings on the website.
- The ABS measure uses a sample approach to collecting vacancy data, based on a sample of 5,500 businesses, compared to the use of Indeed’s online portal. That sample controls for changes in the composition of job vacancies but may struggle to fully measure recruitment across smaller businesses.
- A job vacancy refers to a job that is ‘available for immediate filling on the survey reference date and for which recruitment action has been taken.’ By comparison, an online job advertisement may refer to a future position or could already be filled or even abandoned in some cases.
Interestingly enough, much of the recent divergence between the ABS and Indeed measures disappears when we focus purely on Indeed job postings that have been on the website for a week or less. The gap between the two measures, relative to their level in February 2020, was just 3.4% in November, compared to the original 23% gap.
New postings, which are more volatile than total postings, may prove to be more useful at identifying turning points in hiring behaviour and will be a measure to keep an eye on this year given the expected shift in labour market conditions.
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 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 ABS job vacancies measure can be found here, with the methodology used to draw comparisons between the Indeed and ABS measures available here.