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Casual Christmas jobs give way to permanent positions: Seek


Seasonal rush to hire temporary workers has been overshadowed by the clamour for full-timers, says recruiter.

By Keeli Cambourne 13 minute read

Businesses are focused on hiring permanent staff rather than filling roles with casuals even in the lead-up to Christmas, according to Seek’s 2022 employment data review.

According to the report, the usual pick-up of hiring staff in August and September in preparation for the holiday rush has failed to eventuate with non-permanent roles or “Christmas jobs” not registering within the broader job boom.

It follows the trend of non-permanent job ads remaining low by comparison with the fluctuations recorded pre-pandemic, as businesses focus on securing permanent workers.


Managing director of Seek ANZ Kendra Banks said it had been an unusual year for the job market.

“While businesses have been in recovery from two years of disrupted operations, Australia is also grappling with fewer migrant workers, 48-year low unemployment and global economic and resource crises driving the costs of living up and the economic outlook down,” she said.

“As a result, we have seen job ads booming across all sectors and applications per job ad failing to keep up with increasing demand. The traditional peaks and troughs we expect throughout the year have been superseded by unprecedented demand across the board.

“Businesses have pivoted to try to attract the best candidates, offering higher salaries, sign-on bonuses and workplace flexibility like never before.”

Over first five months of the year Seek recorded the most job ads in its 25-year history, reaching a peak in May at 265,000. That month also saw applications per job ad reaching record lows as the supply of workers began to dwindle.

The growth was driven by the end of the first Omnicron wave, the last of the pandemic lockdowns and declining unemployment rates.

Job ads are now 13.5 per cent lower than they were at their peak yet remain more than 40 per cent higher than 2019 levels, Seek said.

Applications per job ad have risen 25.7 per cent since the low point while

salaries rose an average 2.8 per cent from January to September, growing faster in insurance and superannuation, and trades and services.

Record job ads and low applications per job ad resulted in an extremely tight labour market in which candidates held more bargaining power than ever before. Employers turned to new incentives and added benefits to attract candidates.

Sign-on bonuses became much more common, up 264 per cent compared to the prior year, while flexible work options featured in job ads.

The number of roles that mentioned “Work from home” within the job description increased from around 1,200 per month in 2019 to 11 times as many in 2022.

The largest increase in working-from-home roles were in public and professional services, which saw a 1,070 per cent growth in job ads offering flexible work options. The industrial, consumer services and construction sectors were less likely to offer work-from-home roles.

The industries that were the top drivers of job ad growth in 2022 were hospitality and tourism, trades and services, and manufacturing, transport and logistics. 

Other industries also saw incredible growth, notably retail and consumer products, which was one of those most impacted by lockdowns.

Although one of the smaller industries by volume, farming, animals and conservation relies heavily reliant on migrant workers and was greatly impacted by the closure of borders, leading to record-level demand, and job ads double pre-COVID levels in 2022.


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