Australian jobs market positive but engineering below average

Posted on 25 Mar 2015 by Tim Brown

The Q2 2015 ‘Hudson Report: Employment Trends’ has revealed a broadly positive outlook for the Australian jobs market, with net intentions to hire remaining strong.

Despite a slight dip from Q1 2015, the Hudson Report has revealed a reasonable report card for the Australian jobs market with net hiring intentions in 2015 still at their highest annual level since 2012.

According to Hudson, a net 17.1% of employers are looking to increase permanent staffing levels between April and June this year, compared to 18.7% in Q1 and well up from just 11.2% one year ago.

“While the official unemployment rate has crept up recently and economic conditions remain challenging, our research reveals a transition in the labour markets, with weaker employment conditions in mining and resourcing offset by more positive conditions in industries such as professional services, IT and financial services,” said Dean Davidson, Executive General Manager, Hudson Australia.

A net 31.5% of employers and hiring managers in professional services are looking to hire in Q2 2015, 27.0% in IT, 25.2% in financial services/insurance.

However, according to the report, only 4.5% of technical and engineering companies intend to increase their permanent headcount and only 8.2% of these companies are intending to offer contract positions.

Permanent hiring expectations from the Hudson report
Permanent hiring expectations from the Hudson report.

Thus the remaining 95.5% of technical and engineering companies intend to either keep permanent job numbers static or to reduce their headcount. And with the latest figures from the Bureau of Statistics showing that over the last 12 months manufacturing has shed 25,000 jobs while mining cut 48,700 jobs, the outlook for the sector does not share the glossy sheen of ICT or professional services.

“This reflects what we now know as the ‘new normal’ and part of the ongoing transition in Australia’s labour markets, with growth shifting away from mining to professional services, ICT, finance and legal across all states. This is obviously more challenging for some locations than others.”

The Australian jobs market for traditionally resource driven states is challenging, with Queensland and South Australia showing the weakest hiring intentions. By comparison with the nationwide average of 17.1%, a net of 12.2% of employers are looking to hire in Q2 2015 in Queensland and 10.3% in South Australia.

The growth in hiring intentions in ICT is a small positive for the manufacturing sector with the growing influence of software and programming in manufacturing products likely contributing to this strong performance.