SEEK Employment Report August - Lead in to Christmas sees retail job ads rise

  • Job ads fell 1.8% in August, after a slight rise in July.
  • Job ad volumes decreased 20.5% year-on-year (y/y) but are 19.7% higher than August 2019.
  • Applications per job ad increased for the sixth consecutive month, rising 6.5% from the month prior and are now more than double the year prior*.
  • The national decline in job ads was led by month-on-month (m/m) drops in New South Wales (-3.6%) and Queensland (-1.2%), followed by South Australia (-4.4%).
  • Victoria (0.2%) and the Northern Territory (0.7%) were the only state and territory to record a rise in job ads m/m.
  • Most of the large industries recorded a decline in job ads in August, including Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics (-3.0%), Trades & Services (-2.6%) and Healthcare & Medical (-1.4%).
  • Retail & Consumer Products (3.2%) and Education & Training (1.7%)% were the largest industries to grow in job ad volume in August.
 *Applications per job ad data is recorded with a one-month lag. The data referred to in this report is July data.
Of the August data, Matt Cowgill, SEEK Senior Economist, says:
“After a bump in volumes in July which saw job ads rise for the first time in six months, ads fell in August by 1.8%.
“Job ads in Retail & Consumer Products rose by 3.2% month-on-month. This shows retail businesses across the country have begun preparing for the busy Christmas period, with increasing demand for Retail Assistants and Department/Assistant Manager roles.
“It is an increasingly competitive market for candidates with applications per job ad now more than double the levels recorded this time last year. Roles in all industries are receiving increased interest, with applications per job ad for Manufacturing Transport & Logistics roles growing by 19.8% over the past quarter.
“When we remove the peaks and troughs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we see historically high volumes of opportunities for workers, matched with proportionately large application levels from candidates. We do appear to be moving closer to a hirer’s market, and yet there is still plenty of choice for workers looking to make a move.”
After an uplift in job ads in July, driven primarily by a significant rise in demand for Hospitality & Tourism workers, job ads declined in August, falling 1.8%. Volumes are now 20.5% lower y/y but remain 19.7% higher than August 2019.
Applications per job ad rose for a sixth consecutive month, jumping 6.5% from June to July. Levels are now more than double (106.9%) y/y.
Figure 1: National SEEK job ad percentage change m/m August 2022 to August 2023

Table 1: National, state and territory and metro/ regional job ad growth/decline comparing August 2023 to: i) July 2023 (m/m), and ii) August 2022 (y/y).

Figure 2: National SEEK job ad percentage change by state: August 2023 vs July 2023


Although small, increases in job ad volume were recorded in Victoria (0.2%) and the Northern Territory (0.7%) in August.

In Victoria, this was led by an 11.9% jump in demand for Retail & Consumer Products workers. In the Northern Territory, growth in Trades & Services (11.0%) and Education & Training (16.0%) contributed to the monthly uplift. 

New South Wales (-3.6%), Queensland (-1.2%) and South Australia (-4.4%) experienced declining job ad volumes. Tasmania, while relatively small and therefore more susceptible to fluctuation on a month-to-month basis, recorded a 10.0% drop, due to declines in ads within Trades & Services (-15.9%) and Healthcare & Medical (-10.7%), among other industries.

Figure 3: Major state job ad trends: August 2019 to August 2023. Index: 100 = 2013 avg

Applications per job ad grew m/m in most states and the Australian Capital Territory, though fell in the Northern Territory.

When compared to July 2019, applications per job ad are now higher in New South Wales (12.2%), Victoria (13.5%) and the Australian Capital Territory (67.1%).  
Table 2: Applications per job ad growth/ decline by state/ territory m/m. Note that applications per ad are recorded with a one-month delay so July data is the latest data available.
The largest industies by job ad volume declined in August; namely Trades & Services (-2.6), Healthcare & Medical (-1.4%) and Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics (-3.0%). After driving the national increase in job ads in July, Hospitality & Tourism jobs fell 3.1%.
Education & Training was the largest industry by volume to record a rise m/m, with particular demand for Early Childhood Teachers (8%) and Childcare Workers (3%).
Ads in Retail & Consumer Products rose 3.2%, particularly for Retail Assistant positions which were up 8% m/m as businesses prepare for the busy Christmas period.
Figure 4: National SEEK Job Ad percentage change by industry (August 2023 vs July 2023) – Ordered by job ad volume

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About the SEEK Employment Report

The SEEK Employment Report is Australia’s leading employment index and provides a comprehensive overview of the Australian Employment Marketplace. The report includes the SEEK Employment Index (SEI) which measures only new job ads posted within the reported month to provide a clean measure of demand for labour across all classifications.

Note: the SEI June differ to the job ad count on SEEK’s website due to a number of factors including: 1) seasonal adjustments applied to the SEI; 2) the exclusion of duplicated job ads from the SEI; and 3) the exclusion of Company Listings (included under Company Profiles) from the SEI.

Disclaimer: The Data should be viewed and regarded as standalone information and should not be aggregated with any other information whether such information has been previously provided by SEEK Limited, ("SEEK"). The Data is given in summary form and whilst care has been taken in its preparation, SEEK makes no representations whatsoever about its completeness or accuracy. SEEK expressly bears no responsibility or liability for any reliance placed by you on the Data, or from the use of the Data by you. If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately.