Which state is Australia's employment capital?
From sights and sporting events to cafes and coffee, New South Wales and Victoria have a long-standing rivalry. But which state is the nation’s employment capital? We investigate the latest SEEK employment trends.

For the second month in a row, New South Wales (NSW) was the top contributor to national job ad growth, accounting for 34% of the national year-on-year growth for March, but Victoria came a close second with 28% 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% of growth nationally, whereas NSW accounts for 27%. 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.

People power

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,” she says.

“This investment will generally result in increased jobs across a number of sectors, especially when a population is increasing steadily, as in Victoria.” 

The most recent data from ABS show that Victoria’s population is growing at 2.4% (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% (123,000).

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

Victoria’s rising industries

While New South Wales still trumps 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 & 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 & Energy against Victoria by 67%.

The table below represents the industries where Victoria is catching up with NSW in terms of new job ads; and industries still performing more strongly in NSW.

VIC making up ground on NSW NSW is increasing its lead on VIC
Healthcare & Medical Government & Defence
Design & Architecture Mining, Resources & Energy
Engineering Real Estate & Property
Hospitality & Tourism Human Resources & Recruitment
Information & Communication Technology Science & Technology

“Over the past year, Victoria has seen Healthcare & Medical, Design & Architecture, Engineering, Hospitality & Tourism and ICT growing at a significantly faster rate than in NSW,” Bank says.

“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% of all healthcare job ads were in NSW, while Victoria’s share increased significantly to 29%”.

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