Victoria hot on the heels of NSW when it comes to job growth

National SEEK new job ad growth continued to be strong in March, recording a 16.2 per cent increase from this time last year, according to the latest data from SEEK. The sectors that experienced the largest growth are Mining, Resources & Energy (up 35 per cent compared to twelve months ago) and Science and Technology, which saw an increase of 20 per cent year-on-year (YoY). 

Figure 1. Job ad growth across industries March 2018 compared to March 2017

Despite strong levels of SEEK new job ad growth nationally compared to this time last year, figures for March show more declining industries than seen in recent months. This could be an early warning sign of a number of sectors cooling down.

Once again, the sector that saw the most significant decrease in job ads this month was Advertising, Arts & Media, with a drop of 20 per cent YoY. The sector has been struggling with a steady decline in recent months, perhaps as a result of the increasingly turbulent media landscape in Australia which has experienced significant cuts over the past year. Real Estate also saw a decrease in job ads of 12 per cent when compared with this time last year.

Kendra Banks, Managing Director SEEK ANZ, points to a number of key factors that may be contributing to this, including recent falling house prices and changing regulations on home loans from ASIC and APRA over the last year.

“Australia’s housing market is slowing down after years of skyrocketing prices. According to CoreLogic, house prices across Australia’s capitals fell for a fifth consecutive month this March, contributing to a broader cool down across the whole country. This is reflected in the decrease (-12%) in Real Estate job ads as flat home price growth in March could be slowing sector growth.”


For the second month in a row, New South Wales (NSW) was the number one contributor to national job ad growth, accounting for 34 per cent of the national YoY growth for March, but Victoria came a close second with 28 per cent in March. 

Over the last year, the monthly ranking for which state contributes the most to national job ad growth has been hotly contested between the nation’s two largest labour markets. While the number of new job ads in NSW is increasing, and is still higher than any other state, Victoria is very much closing the gap. 

In fact, when it comes to rolling annual growth rates for new job ads (comparing March 18 - April 17 with March 17 - April 16), Victoria is the clear winner - accounting for 29 per cent of growth nationally, whereas NSW accounts for 27 per cent. This pattern is reflected in Victoria pulling ahead of NSW in seven out of the past 12 months in terms of SEEK new job ad growth. 

Figure 2. NSW vs VIC percentage share of SEEK new job ad growth over the last 12 months

In terms of why this is happening, Kendra Banks, Managing Director SEEK ANZ, notes that it is worth taking population growth into account when it comes to job ad growth.

“Changes in population size are generally a forward indicator of spending and growth, especially in terms of investment in roads, schools and wider infrastructure. This investment will generally result in increased jobs across a number of sectors, especially when a population is increasing steadily, as it is in Victoria.”

The most recent data from ABS show that Victoria’s population is growing at 2.4 per cent (147,000) annually, partly driven by the steadily increasing level of domestic migration into the state, and is outpacing NSW where the population is growing at an average rate of 1.6 per cent (123,000).

While the labour force in NSW is still larger than Victoria’s (accounting for 32 per cent of the national total according to ABS data), Victoria now accounts for 26 per cent of the national labour force.

Table 1. Industries in which Victoria is catching up with NSW in terms of new job ads; and industries still performing more strongly in NSW

Note: as represented by change in SEEK new job ad volume

While New South Wales still beats Victoria in terms of total number of new job ads across all sectors, the difference between the states is narrowing dramatically in many industries.

  • Victoria’s Healthcare & Medical industry is 54% closer to having the same number of new job opportunities as in NSW
  • Victoria’s Design and Architecture industry is now also 42% closer to having the same number of new job opportunities available as in NSW
  • Most notably NSW has widened its lead against Victoria by 122% when it comes to new job ads in Government and Defence
  • NSW increased its advantage in Mining, Resources and Energy against Victoria by 67%

“Over the past year, Victoria has seen Healthcare, Design and Architecture, Engineering, Hospitality and Tourism and ICT growing at a significantly faster rate than in NSW. If current trends continue, Victoria could soon become Australia’s Healthcare capital as growth in new job ads has narrowed the gap between the states significantly in the past 12 months. In the last year, 31 per cent of all healthcare job ads were in NSW, while Victoria’s share increased significantly to 29 per cent,” commented Banks.

However, certain sectors including Real Estate & Property, Mining, Insurance and HR, are still performing more strongly in NSW than in Victoria.

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About the SEEK Employment Report

The SEEK Employment Report provides a comprehensive overview of the Australian Employment Marketplace. The report includes the SEEK Employment Index (SEI), which is the first Australia aggregate indicator to measure the interaction between labour market supply and labour market demand.

It also includes the SEEK New Job Ad Index which measures only new job ads posted within the reported month to provide a clean measure of demand for labour across all classifications.

SEEK’s total job ad volume (not disclosed in this report) includes duplicated job advertisements and refreshed job ads. As a result, the SEEK New Job Ad Index does not always match the movement in SEEK’s total job ad volume.

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SEEK is a diverse group of companies, comprised of a strong portfolio of online employment, educational, commercial and volunteer businesses. SEEK operates across 18 countries with exposure to over 4 billion people and 28 per cent of GDP. SEEK makes a positive contribution to people’s lives on a global scale. SEEK is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, where it is a top 50 company with a market capitalisation close to A$6billion and has been listed in the Top 20 Most Innovative Companies Globally by Forbes, and Number One in Australia.