Key Points:

  • Australian job vacancies fell 4.3% in the March quarter and are now down 17.4% over the year.
  • Australia’s job vacancy rate eased to 2.3% of all jobs, having fallen for six consecutive quarters.
  • The number of Australians working multiple jobs increased slightly from last quarter/from a year ago to 974,000. 

Australia’s job vacancy rate eased to 2.3% in the March quarter, down from a peak of 3.1% in the September quarter 2022 but still well above the 1.4% average rate from 2010 to 2019. Competition for talent may have eased but by no means has it returned to normal levels. Skill and talent shortages are still common and many businesses continue to find recruitment challenging.

Line graph titled “Australian job vacancy rate”. WIth an x-axis ranging from 0 to 4%, Australia’s job vacancy rate eased to 2.3% in the March quarter, down from a peak of 3.1% in the September quarter of 2022. 
Line graph titled “Australian job vacancy rate”. With an x-axis ranging from 0 to 4%, Australia’s job vacancy rate eased to 2.3% in the March quarter, down from a peak of 3.1% in the September quarter of 2022. 

Australia’s job vacancy rate remains highest in the mining sector at 4.6%. Mining consistently struggles to fill roles due to the remote nature of many of those opportunities. The vacancy rate also remains high across electricity, gas, water & waste services (3.3%), accommodation & food services (2.9%) and healthcare (2.6%). Persistent shortages across these sectors can undermine service provision and quality, which is particularly concerning in areas such as utilities and healthcare.

Vacancies in two industries, financial & insurance services, and administrative & support services, now sit slightly below their average from 2010 to 2019. By comparison, the vacancy rate for electricity, gas, water & waste services is 3.4 times higher than normal, showing just how much recruitment challenges can vary considerably based on industry.

Bar graph titled “Australian job vacancy rate by industry”. WIth a y-axis ranging from 0 to 5%, Australia’s job vacancy rate in the March quarter was highest in mining, electricity, gas, water & waste services and accommodation & food services. 
Bar graph titled “Australian job vacancy rate by industry”. With a y-axis ranging from 0 to 5%, Australia’s job vacancy rate in the March quarter was highest in mining, electricity, gas, water & waste services and accommodation & food services. 

Growing share of Australian workers have multiple jobs

In the March quarter, 974,000 people had two or more jobs, around 6.7% of all people with a job. While the number hasn’t moved much in the past year, it remains well above the historical 5 to 6% range that was common in the first two decades of this century.

Multiple jobs are more common among women (7.3% of workers) than men (6%). Women are most likely to have a second role in healthcare & social assistance and education, whereas men are most commonly working multiple construction jobs or have a second job in administration.

There is a good chance that the share of workers with multiple jobs will continue its gradual upward trend this year. Cost-of-living pressures continue to make things difficult for Australian households, creating the need for extra work to manage mortgages, rents, electricity and food costs. People will continue to seek more hours, either in an existing job or via an additional job, to deal with these cost pressures.

Line graph titled “Multiple job holders in Australia”. WIth a x-axis ranging from 3 to 7%, the share of Australian workers with multiple jobs reached 6.7% in the March quarter and has steadily increased over the past few years. 
Line graph titled “Multiple job holders in Australia”. With a x-axis ranging from 3 to 7%, the share of Australian workers with multiple jobs reached 6.7% in the March quarter and has steadily increased over the past few years. 

Assessment and implications

While labour market conditions are clearly easing, the resilient jobs market has been an important factor in helping Australians deal with cost-of-living pressures and helping the broader economy avoid a recession. But we should also be mindful that labour market conditions typically lag shifts in economic activity. The Australian economy overall is sputtering along, struggling to keep its head above water, presenting a considerable risk to the labour market outlook.