Primary industries drive job ad growth
The latest data from SEEK shows job ads were up by 16.2% in February compared to the same time last year - this is the ninth consecutive month of year-on-year double digit growth.

New opportunities on SEEK increased by 2% in February over and above the normal ramp up in hiring early inactivity for the new year. Year-on-year growth was recorded in every industry in February, except for advertising, arts and media, which saw a decline of 7% and the average advertised salary was $75,968.

Growth for primary industries

Australia had its primary industries to thank for much of its growth in February. The mining, resources and energy industry was out in front again with year-on-year growth of 45%. It was among the highest performers in states such as Queensland and South Australia and its strong start to 2018 signals a promising year ahead for the industry. Average advertised salaries in mining, energy and resources are also rising again - the average recorded in February was 120,575.

The farming, animals and conservation industry was in second place with year-on-year growth of 32% and the average advertised salary was $75,717.

Kendra Banks, Managing Director of SEEK ANZ, says that while actual job numbers are still relatively low in the industry, the increase is significant for a sector facing a number of challenges. 

“The increase in job ads across Victoria (40%), New South Wales (50%) and Western Australia (54%) reflects solid growth in some sectors, including sheep and wool, grain and cattle,” she says.

“Australian farmers are getting older, with the latest survey data from the ABS finding the average farmer is 56-years-old. As such, it is not surprising that certain jobs are increasingly being outsourced due to both an aging workforce and to improve efficiency.”

The impact of infrastructure

Investment in infrastructure is having an impact on industries such as engineering and trades and services - each recorded year-on-year growth of 25%. The average advertised salary for engineering was $105,661, while trades and services saw an average of $67,123.

Banks attributes much of the growth to unprecedented levels of government investment in infrastructure. A recent ABS report shows that the value of work still in the pipeline of public sector infrastructure projects is at a record high.

“There are a number of key infrastructure projects underway across Australia, including the Perth-to-Forrestfield Airport Rail Link,” says Banks.

“We are seeing particularly strong demand for engineering skills in Western Australia and job ads in this sector have increased 63% this month. Job growth in this sector is expected to continue.”

A sporting chance

As Australia gears up for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April, the sports and recreation industry showed promising form with year-on-year growth of 2% and the average advertised salary was $64,887.

Research from CommBank shows Australians are set to spend more than $4.7 billion on health and fitness products to achieve their goals this year. Each month, more than $700 million of this will be spent on health and fitness activities and this may be fueling the demand for coaching and instructor roles, which recorded a 20% year-on-year increased for the three-month period of December to February. Sports management roles also grew by 12% over the same period, while and fitness and personal training was up by 4%.

Trends across the country

Year-on-year growth was recorded in every state and territory in February. Tasmania led the way with an increase of 34.9% compared to the same time last year, largely thanks to a boost in job ads in manufacturing, transport and logistics and administration and office support.

New South Wales and Victoria experienced year-on-year growth of 13.3% and 19.1% respectively and the farming, animals and conservation industry was among the top-growth industries for both states.

Job ads in Queensland were up by 16.3% year-on-year while South Australia saw a lift of 17.4%. The Northern Territory’s 12% growth was largely driven by an increase in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Meanwhile, the ACT saw growth of 17.5% year-on-year. This was primarily due to a lift in the information & communication technology industry, which accounted for over 60% of the territory’s growth.

Australia’s job market continued its strong performance in February with growth in primary industries, such as mining and agriculture, helping to fuel a further double-digit increase on SEEK. Let’s hope the trend continues into the new season.