Start of 2020 sees lift in job ads
The start of 2020 has shown some positivity for the employment market. While job ads are down 6.5% year on year, a 1.6% month-on-month lift in January has offered a sign of improvement.

Meanwhile, Community Services & Development continues to be at the forefront of job ad growth across the industries. Find out more about how the market is faring, plus what’s happening in your area and industry, in this month’s employment snapshot.

Monthly lift a positive sign

There’s still an overall year-on-year decline in job ad volume – down 6.5% compared to January 2019 – but job ads are showing improvement compared to the end of 2019.

Kendra Banks, Managing Director, SEEK ANZ says while year-on-year job ads were down in January, positive month-on-month growth points to potential improvement in the job market.

“January marked the second consecutive month of positive month on month job ad growth at 1.6%, backing up the 0.2% rise in December,” Banks says.

“However, after Australia’s devastating bushfire season, and the uncertainty surrounding novel coronavirus, we expect short-term growth to remain challenging as sectors such as Hospitality & Tourism, Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing, Retail and the Higher Education sector remain exposed.”

Community services continues to lead charge

The highest job ad growth of the industries in January was in Community Services & Development, which saw a 15.7% increase year-on-year.

“We are continuing to see the Community Services & Development industry make consistent contributions to job ad growth,” Banks says. Since midway through last year, opportunities for job seekers remain available across Aged & Disability Support, Community Development, Management & Child Welfare and Youth & Family Services.

Taking a state focus, the Community Services & Development industry in Western Australia shows higher than average year-on-year growth, up 16% compared to January 2019.

“Regions such as Mandurah & Peel, Bunbury & South West, Albany & Great Southern and even further east in Kalgoorlie Goldfields and Esperance are all contributing to job ad growth,” Banks says.

“Queensland’s Community Services & Development industry is also strong, up 11% year on year to January. Job opportunities can be found across Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast, to Western Queensland and further north in Mackay & Coalfields. These roles are from a wide array of the sector, from Aged & Disability Support, Community Development, Management, Child Welfare, Youth & Family Services, Indigenous & Multicultural Services to Fundraising.”

Early signs of change for Construction

Housing-related sectors, which have recently been showing declines, will be worth watching for improvement as we head further into 2020, Banks explains.

“Whilst our 2020 January data shows a further decline in job ads for housing-related sectors, such as Construction, Trades & Services, Real Estate and Property, we will watch closely to see if this is the bottom of the downward trend, as we have seen signs of hiring activity stabilising in our data,” she says.

SEEK Employment Analyst Shanika Yapa says Construction in particular is showing early signs indicating change.

“One of the exciting trends to observe has been in Construction. We saw up until a couple of months ago the trend in job ads in decline, but over December and January we’ve seen that begin to stabilise,” Yapa says.

“We’re starting to see a slight month-on-month uplift in job ads in Construction. We also saw in December an increase in building approvals for the first time in a long while (2.7% year-on-year).

“It’s a very early sign that there’s a sense of recovery in that space.”

Reconstruction efforts that will take place across bushfire affected regions could also underpin hiring activity in the industry over the months ahead, Yapa says.

A look at states and salaries

Across the states and territories, Australian Capital Territory leads job ad growth with a 9.5% increase year-on-year, followed by Western Australia with a 5.7% rise.

South Australia also saw a small year-on-year increase in job ad volume of 0.7% year-on-year.

Meanwhile, the average advertised salary across Australia was up 1.7% year-on-year, reaching $88,746 in January. Each state and territory saw an increase except for the Northern Territory, which saw a decline of 0.5% compared to January 2019.

Leading salary growth is Tasmania, with a 5.1% year-on-year increase and an average advertised salary of $79,951. South Australia comes in second with a 3.8% increase – its average salary is $83,103.