2022 Employment Market Year in Review

2022 has been a record-breaking year in the Australian employment market. The below outlines the five trends that have shaped the employment landscape since January.


  1. Record job ad numbers dominate in H1, applications pick up in H2
  2. Advertised salaries grow 2.8%
  3. Hirers get creative to attract candidates
  4. Booming industries: job ads in five industries more than doubled over COVID
  5. Macro factors supersede seasonality

Kendra Banks, Managing Director SEEK ANZ says:

“To say that 2022 has been an unusual year for the job market is an understatement. 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.

“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 The traditional peaks and troughs we expect throughout the year have been superseded by unprecedented demand across the board.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.”


For the first five months of the year, SEEK recorded the most job ads on site in its 25 year history, culminating in May with over 265,000 job ads. The record level growth was facilitated by the end of the first Omnicron-wave in Australia, the last of Australia’s COVID-related lockdowns, and declining unemployment rates. All states and territories marked record-level job ads this year; starting with the ACT in April, followed by all other states and territories in May.

As a result, supply was stretched thinly across the demand for workers, leading to applications per job ad reaching record lows also in May.

Since mid-year job ad numbers have eased off the peak slightly, declining incrementally m/m, allowing applications per job ad figures to rise.

Job ads are now 13.5% lower than they were at their peak, yet remain more than 40% higher than 2019 levels, while applications per job ad have risen 25.7% since the lowpoint.  


*Note: Applications/ad are reported with a one month lag.


Australian advertised salaries rose by 2.8% from January to September 2022 according to the SEEK Advertised Salary Index.  As lockdowns ceased and businesses across all industries returned to hiring, the talent-short market saw salaries rise across all industries and in all states and territories.

Across industries, advertised salaries for roles in Insurance & Superannuation and Trades & Services grew the fastest for the period January to September.

Across Australia, advertised salaries in Tasmania and the Northern Territory grew the fastest for the period January to September.


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

Sign-on bonuses became more commonly used: with 264% more references to sign-on bonuses in 2022 compared to 2021 [1).

Another notable trend in work perks was the promotion of flexible work options in job ads. The number of roles that mentioned “Work From Home” within the job description increased from  approximately 1200 per month in 2019 to 11 times as many in 2022 [2].

Unsurprisingly, the largest increase in working from home roles were in the Public and Professional Services which saw a 1070% growth in job ads offering flexible work options. The Industrial, Consumer Services and Construction sectors are less likely to be able to offer work from home roles.

[1] Based on  job ad volumes not sesaonally adjusted and based only on the following keywords: "SIGN ON BONUS”, "SIGN-ON BONUS", “SIGNON BONUS", "SIGNING ON BONUS", "SIGNING BONUS".

[2] Please note that the volumes of job ads are not seasonally adjusted and are based only on the following keywords: "WFH ,"WORK FROM HOME", "WORKING FROM HOME”


The industries that were the top drivers of job ad growth in 2022 were Hospitality & Tourism, Trades & Services and Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics. 

Other industries also saw incredible growth, notably Retail & Consumer Products, which was one of the most impacted by lockdowns,  and external macro-economic factors.

Although one of the smaller industries by volume, Farming, Animal & Conservation, which is heavily reliant on migrant workers, was greatly impacted by the closure of borders, leading to record-level demand, and job ads to double pre-COVID levels in 2022.

Community Services & Development roles also saw significant growth this year with demand for support and community aid workers rising during the pandemic.

In May, when job ads peaked, five industries were sitting at more than double their pre-COVID levels, and by October remain the industries that have experienced the most growth since 2019.


COVID-recovery, rising costs of living and high demand for talent have been the greatest trends impacting the employment market in 2022, at times outweighing traditional seasonal trends. 

While a slowdown in hiring in April would have been expected given the Easter and ANZAC Day public holidays, it was the second highest month for job ads on record.  

Similarly, a pickup in hiring in August and September leading into the Christmas season was not recorded, with non-permanent roles or “Christmas jobs” not making a mark within the broader Great Job Boom. In fact, non-permanent job ads have remained low in comparison to fluctuations recorded pre-pandemic, as businesses focus energy on securing permanent workers.