The complex Australian labour market has confounded many analysts throughout the course of the year and has ultimately proved to be stronger than expected with the national unemployment rate at a five year low at 5.4% and nearly 300,000 full time jobs and 58,000 part time jobs created in the last year. Read More.

The numbers are weaker when we look at the Youth Unemployment Rate (persons under 24 years of age) and all though jobs growth is showing positive trends with an increase of 58,000 new jobs in 2017 YTD compared to a loss of 23,000 jobs in 2016, the unemployment rate is still sitting at more than twice the average at 12.1% and providing plenty of challenges for young people trying to enter the job market.

During 2017, the healthcare industry, the public sector, professional services, retail and education and training advertised the most amounts of jobs and according to forecasts provided by the Department of Employment for the next five years these industries along with the construction sector are expected to continue to see jobs growth.

Source: Department of Employment, Industry Employment Projections – August 2017

Building relationships, customer service, project management, business management and sales skills were the skills most in demand in 2017 and again we expect to see the demand for these skills continue in 2018 with business confidence in the Australian economy continuing to grow. We are also seeing an increase in demand for skilled trades people particularly in the construction and infrastructure sector as state and federal government continues to invest in infrastructure projects as a means to create jobs. Already we are starting to see skill shortages emerge in these areas with the Victorian Government recently suggesting that in the next few years’ shortages of trades’ people are likely to cause challenges with the number of projects underway on the east coast. This demand is also expected to fuel a growth in new apprenticeship roles.

Whilst employment demand is set to continue in 2018, this demand and the reduction in spare capacity within the labour force is not yet feeding in to stronger wage growth, with the latest Quarterly Wage Index still showing weak growth. It may yet take some time before we see wages start to increase with the Under Employment Rate (people wanting more hours) still hovering around 8%. However there is good news for those wondering about a pay rise in the future, with number of hours worked up 3.4% over the same time last year. In the construction sector the high demand for tradespeople is already starting to create skills shortages in these areas, placing some upward pressure on wages and threatening to escalate costs across the record number of infrastructure projects on the east coast.

So as we head in to the holiday period young Australian job seekers can be confident that there is a lot to be optimistic about in the Australian labour market in 2018 and we look forward to working with you to help you achieve your goals.