RCSA’s latest Job Report has revealed that Australia’s Job Index has fallen 14.3% last year with advertised positions declining 12.7% in the December quarter alone. While the data isn’t exactly worth celebrating, the job market is holding up well in comparison to New Zealand where the national job index plummeted 30.5% over 12 months.

“The fact we haven’t gone down the same trajectory as New Zealand provides some comfort and highlights how resilient the Australian job market has remained during a challenging time, says RCSA CEO Charles Cameron.

“Successive interest rate rises, and the fragile geopolitical landscape have softened the country’s job market, but It’s not surprising, with the RBA using monetary policy to weaken employment and bring down inflation.”

While job ads have declined 14.3%, the 12-month dip doesn’t spell disaster. Australia has remained robust by managing to avoid a recession and keep unemployment to a minimum in a skills short market.

“It’s a wonder that it took this long for the jobs market to slow, says Cameron.

“While there’s a clear softening it’s important to remember that the country is still adjusting to a new norm after an unprecedented boom in job demand during Covid. All things considered, I’d say we are in pretty good shape.”

Over the past 12 months permanent job opportunities fell 16.9%, while demand for flexible workers dropped 5.3%. The figures are reflective of the economic climate. When there is low business confidence, employers tend to avoid hiring permanent employees and favour a more flexible workforce.

“A flexible workforce gives an employer the freedom to scale their operations up and down to respond to the economic landscape. We have seen this happen over the past year, but it wasn’t until the last quarter that we saw a clear pattern emerge that showed employers were favouring flexible workers. Despite the environment, there are a lot of businesses who remain happy to lock down permanent workers for continuity and because we are still experiencing a nationwide skills shortage.”

While the unemployment rate has increased by 0.3% and is now sitting at 3.9%, it’s a long way from prior predictions that it was going to hit 4.5% mid-year. With the job index slipping in December, it is possible that we will see unemployment rise a little further in the first quarter of this year.

“Data collected over the next three months will give us a good indication of what we can expect over the next year”, says Cameron.

2023 at a glance

  • Job demand increased in the Public Administration sector by 9.8%.
  • Health, Education and Community job adds rose 4.8%.
  • The worst performer for the year was Technology Professionals. Demand took a 34.6% nosedive.
  • Jobs demand in the Professional Services sector slumped 29% over 12 months.
  • Ads for Clerical and Administrative workers decreased 26.3% year on year.