The latest ANZ data shows a rebound in vacancies while salaries accelerate their upward trend, according to Seek.
Job ads jump in August driven by NSW, Qld demand
Job ads jumped in August the most in more than a year and remain at elevated levels despite an increase in unemployment and high interest rates, the latest ANZ data shows.
The August increase of 1.9 per cent month-on-month followed a July rise of 0.7 per cent to take the ANZ-Indeed index to 146.2 – down from its peak of a year ago but substantially above its level of 100 in 2019.
“Australian job ads are showing surprising resilience, rising 2.6 per cent over the last two months,” ANZ economist Madeline Dunk said.
“We expect the buoyancy in ANZ-Indeed Australian job ads to fade as the economy cools. While the labour market remains very tight, the underemployment rate has risen from its recent low, and the July Labour Force Survey showed an increase in the unemployment rate.”
Indeed senior economist Callam Pickering said the effect was strongly regional.
“The pick-up in job ads over the past two months has been driven by NSW and Queensland, with smaller contributions coming from the other mainland states,” he said.
“Recent growth has been concentrated in education and healthcare, specifically doctors and nurses, with job ads for retail also rising at a seasonally strong pace. “These gains have offset a significant decline in tech opportunities, which have steadily fallen throughout 2023.”
The CEO of management consultancy ASPL Group, Kris Grant, expected the unemployment rate to remain below 4 per cent next year with shortages in many trades and sectors.
“Given the strength of economic activity, I expect to see healthy recruitment activity remain over the remaining months of 2023 and into 2024,” he said. “Much of this is due to rising incomes given very high levels of employment, which is supporting consumer spending.
“Some of the most severe labour shortages we are seeing are for trade workers, including mechanics, construction workers and electricians, with a new federal government report revealing that vacancy fill rates are extremely low, below 30 per cent, for many trade jobs.”
“We are also seeing significant shortages of carers and aids in the healthcare sector.
“Among professional groups, we are seeing ongoing skills shortages in the education, healthcare and technology sectors, and these are expected to persist.”
She said improving vocational education and increasing apprenticeship positions would help alleviate some of the skills shortages but employers faced the prospect of paying more to attract workers now.
“In this tight labour market, employers may need to attract and retain existing staff by boosting remuneration,” she said.
“If they don't, they risk losing their staff to employers who are prepared to attract candidates with higher wages, which are still rising given the tightness of the Australian labour market.”
The latest Seek jobs data showed salaries rising 4.6 per cent in the year to July after a few months of “softer growth”, with accounting pay rising above average at 4.8 per cent.
“Stronger labour demand generally pushes up advertised salaries and the increase in average advertised salaries in July also coincided with a slight increase in labour demand, with job ads on SEEK rising for the first time in several months,” it said.
The fastest salary growth was in the insurance and superannuation sector while trades and services “continue to go from strength to strength” and in regional terms, salaries in Queensland were “booming”.