“How’s the market?”

Working in the recruitment and staffing industry, I’m regularly asked this question by both employers and job seekers, so here’s my blog to answer that question.  My opinion is based on my day-to-day recruitment activities which include regular meetings with senior executives to discuss their staffing plans and budgets, along with candidate interviews where we discuss individual job search experiences.  But don’t just take it from me.  I’ve also gathered information from research conducted by the Australian Department of Employment (see the Australian Jobs 2016 report and Job Outlook).  So here we go!

What’s hot?vacant

 From my perspective, there has definitely been an increasing demand for professionals with strong analytical skills over the past year or so and it seems set to continue.  This has been across the accounting (cash-flow forecasting), sales (margin/cost of sale analysis), human resources (interpreting ‘soft’ data), information technology (business analysis) and marketing (demand analytics and ROI) sectors.  We’ve also seen an increase in demand for skilled project managers who can either execute a smooth project from start to finish, or salvage a project that has gone off the rails, whether it is in IT, engineering, HR, or accounting and finance.

The Australian Jobs 2016 report provides predictions of projected employment to the year 2020.

Over the next five years, it will be a good time to be working in a Community and Personal Services occupation such as a Child Carer, Aged/Disabled Carer, Waiter, Bar Attendant or Barista.  This group is predicted to experience the largest jobs growth of 19%.

If those jobs don’t grab you, perhaps a Professional occupation is more to your liking with anticipated growth of 14.5%, including jobs like Nurse, Accountant, Teacher or Software/Application Programmer.

There will continue to be strong growth in Sales Worker occupations (9.3% prediction) with Sales Assistant, Office Cashiers, Sales Representatives, Real Estate Agents and Pharmacy Sales Assistants in demand.

The report predicts new jobs will be created over the years ahead that will involve “creativity, complex judgment, advanced reasoning, social interaction and emotional intelligence…”.

What’s not?

For me, the area that is starting to disappear from our radar is clerical accounting roles such as data entry clerks, accounts payable/receivable and credit control.  Our job orders for these roles have reduced significantly over the past couple of years.  Many of these roles are either automated by electronic ERP systems or staffed in other countries where labour is significantly cheaper.  Reception and Administration Assistant roles are also trending in the same way.

The Australian Jobs 2016 report says that employment growth for the Clerical and Administrative Workers occupation group will only be 1.3% over the next five years.  It is interesting to note that in 1990 this group made up 18% of Australia’s total employment and this reduced to 14% by 2015.

But according to Australian Jobs 2016, the standout not hot occupation group is Labourers.  This occupation has experienced negative growth for the past five years and will continue to over the next five years (-1.3%).

What about geography?

With the mining/resources boom over jobs are trending away from regional centres, back into the capital cities.  Our job orders for FIFO (fly-in, fly-out) jobs have reduced enormously in the past year.

The Australian Jobs 2016 Report also provides data on where jobs are located.  Here’s an overview.

NSW will continue its strong employment growth trajectory.  In fact, it will speed up from 7.8% growth over the past five years to November 2015, to 9.8% growth projected to November 2020.  The greatest percentage employment growth will occur in the Greater Sydney, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie and Mid North Coast regions.  Regions that experienced negative growth in the five years leading up to 2015 such as Murray, Richmond-Tweed, New England and North West and Central West are predicted to be back into positive growth territory.

Predicted employment growth will continue to trend upwards in Victoria (6.4% in the five years to 2015 to be 8.8% between 2015 – 2020), Queensland (5% up to 7.9%), South Australia (0.3% to 5.1%), Tasmania (1.1% to 5.1%), ACT (0.7% to 7.2%).  However, the projected employment in Western Australia will slow (11% to 6.9%) as will Northern Territory (9.6% to 7.4%).

Show me the moneyStaffing image

 It is challenging for candidates without qualifications in this current economic climate as the pendulum has swung towards the employer who has the luxury to be quite fussy when recruiting some roles where candidates are plentiful.  Sometimes a qualification is the difference.  More and more of our job orders from clients strongly prefer a degree or similar academic qualification.

For those high school students who will soon be heading off to “Schoolies” and not yet committed to a career path, it may be worth considering data from the Australian Jobs 2016 report.  Whether the path is university, vocational education and training or an apprenticeship here is some useful data.

The highest starting salaries for university graduates last year were in Dentistry and Optometry ($80,000 for both), Medicine ($65,000), Education ($61,000), Earth Sciences, Engineering and Mathematics (all $60,000).

For graduates of VET study, salaries varied significantly depending upon the level of qualification from $46,300 for Certificate I to over $60,000 for Certificate IV or Diploma qualification.  Employment outcomes six months after graduation also varied significantly from 47% for Certificate I graduates to over 74% for Certificate III or higher qualification.

The employment landscape will continue to change as Australia and the world evolve.  Greater connectivity and technological advancements combined with demographic shifts will drive the job opportunities of the future.  Are you ready for them?

Ben Walsh – General Manager; Recruitment


6 Replies to “Job Outlook In Australia 2016-2020”

Richard Thomas
August 1, 2016

Are you sure this isn’t the report for 2010-2015? Doesn’t seem very insightful for 2016 onwards. All your data and observations could just as easily have been made in the 90s as now.

Ben Walsh
August 1, 2016

Thanks for your comment Richard. Not sure if you’ve seen the ‘Australian Jobs 2016’ report, but there is a section about Jobs in the Future on pages 34-36. This is a macro view but gives some insight.
Other observations from me are based on what vacancies I’m seeing now that are different to what I’ve been called about in the past.

James Mahony
August 1, 2016

I believe that work place bullying is a big contribution to this decline in the workforce as well as greed, selfishness disrespect ,hostility and a lack of compassion the average persons needs.too many regulations ,too much political correctness and of course the cost of living. “shame shame shame “

August 1, 2016

Hi Ben,Thank you for your insights.I would like to know your opinion on employment opportunities in Australia, for Immigrants from the ‘Recruitment’ function for a the next 5 years.-Regards.

Jade Fong
August 1, 2016

Hi Ben,

What’s your view on pharmaceutical, healthcare and social welfare area for the next 5 years?


August 1, 2016

With a lot of projects coming up in WA, engineering will experience significant growth starting from 2018 upwards.

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