Biggest lift in NSW skilled job vacancies in 14 months

Skilled job vacancies

National skilled job vacancies rose by 4.9 per cent in September to stand at 228,988 available positions.

Skilled vacancies hit multi-year highs in September in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. NSW job ads rose by the most in 14 months, but vacancies fell in both Victoria and the ACT.

Skilled job vacancies – September

• Last week the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that 138,000 Aussie workers either had ‘lost’ their jobs or were stood down in September. But with the reopening of economies in Australia’s south-east now underway, worries could quickly turn from rising unemployment to labour shortages with labour mobility still constrained by Covid-19 government restrictions.

• Business liaison also suggests that some companies in the transport and logistics sectors are already finding it difficult to recruit workers due to supply chain disruptions. And a sharp rebound in demand for workers in labour-intensive services sector industries, such as hospitality, tourism, retail, recreation and personal services is expected as Greater Sydney and Melbourne both reopen for business ahead of the summer holidays and Christmas trading period.

• In positive sign for future employment, a leading indicator of labour demand today showed that a hiring surge could be around the corner after several months of lockdowns. The National Skills Commission’s Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) jumped by 4.9 per cent (or 10,715 available positions) in September. It was the biggest monthly gain in job ads in six months, following three successive months of declines.

• According to the Vacancy Report, there were 228,988 available positions nationally at the end of September – broadly the same number as at the end of March. But the Delta damage to the labour market was still evident with 12,406 fewer positions than the 12½-year high in May of 241,394 vacancies. That said, recruitment activity is still up by a massive 54.1 per cent (or 80,384 ads) in September on a year ago and 36.2 per cent above pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.

• NSW employment may have declined by 24,800 in September, but savvy NSW employers had already begun planning their hiring needs ahead of ‘Freedom Day’ on October 11. In fact, NSW skilled job vacancies surged by 16.7 per cent (or 10,357 positions) in September, the biggest increase in 14 months.

• While skilled job vacancies fell in Victoria (-2.1 per cent) and the ACT (-1.9 per cent) in September amid prolonged lockdowns, a hiring blitz is underway elsewhere. In fact, South Australian job ads rose by 3.8 per cent to 12½-year highs of 12,929 positions in September. Western Australian job vacancies were up by 1.6 per cent in the month to 9-year highs of 27,451 positions. Tasmanian job ads surged 7.8 per cent in September to 13½-year highs of 3,163 positions. And job ads rose by 3.9 per cent to 8½-year highs of 2,716 positions in the Northern Territory in the month.

• By capital city, in three-month moving average terms in September, job ads rose by the most in percentage terms for Hobart & Southeast Tasmania (up 6.4 per cent or 120 positions), followed by Adelaide (up 5.9 per cent or 656 positions), Perth (up 5.2 per cent or 1,122 positions), Brisbane (up 4.3 per cent or 1,167 positions) and Sydney (up 0.8 per cent or 410 positions). But job ads fell in both Melbourne (down by 1.7 per cent or 858 positions) and Canberra and the ACT (down 1.5 per cent or 104 positions).

• Job advertisements in capital cities recorded an average increase of 31 per cent in September compared to pre-Covid-19 levels. But job vacancies in regional areas have soared by an average of 66.6 per cent.

• Job advertisements increased across all eight broad occupational groups in September and in 42 of the 48 detailed occupational groups. Sales Assistants and Salespersons recorded the largest increase over the month (up by around 2,100 job advertisements or 21.5 per cent), followed by Hospitality workers (up by around 1,700 job advertisements or 37.7 per cent).

Published by Ryan Felsman, Senior Economist, CommSec