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Thursday, 18 February 2016 18:36

Science, IT holding up in poor WA employment market Featured

Science, IT holding up in poor WA employment market Image courtesy of ambro,

The Science and Technology industry sectors have been one of the few growth areas for employment in Western Australia in an otherwise employment downturn for the State, according to a newly published jobs index.

The mining, resources and energy sectors nationally took a bit hit, with new job advertising down 22% year on year to January – but the industry is showing signs of optimism in New South Wales and Victoria where new job ads are up 15% and 12% respectively over the year.

The latest report on the national jobs market from online employment site Seek, shows that in January alone Western Australia’s job ad volume fell 4.7% when compared to December last year, representing the fifth consecutive monthly fall for the state.

But, science and technology along with Sports and Recreation, Legal, Education and General Management were the only industries in Western Australia that have shown year on year growth - althoug science and technology only recorded growth of 2% compared to sport asmd recreation at 19% and the legal sector at 12%.

The Seek Employment Marketplace Report shows that the labour market across Australia remained steady month on month to January this year, however, “beneath the surface of a seemingly still market there is a lot of movement in job advertising, particularly between the eastern and western states”.

According to Seek, the healthy growth in job advertisements across a broad range of industries in the eastern states of New South Wales and Victoria, and to a lesser degree ACT and Tasmania, are offsetting the decline in the west.

Large advertising classifications including Communication Technology and Engineering, Banking and Financial Services, Accounting, Administration and Office Support, remained steady or recorded small growth year-on-year.

Across both New South Wales and Victoria all industries (including science and IT) bar one - Insurance and Superannuation -  are showing positive year on year growth in NSW job advertising.

Seek says the index shows that January represented the sixth successive month of month-to-month growth for New South Wales, and the state currently has 13.1% more jobs advertised than a year earlier.

“What’s comforting about the increases in the east is that the growth spans a number of industries, which is arguably more sustainable for fuelling job growth in the long term,” Seek Employment Managing Director, Michael Ilczynski says.

“Encouragingly, driving growth in the eastern states are the large employing categories of Drill and Blast Mining and Mining Operations both showing double digit year on year growth,” Ilczynski observes.

“We’ve seen a big jump in demand for specialists in oil and gas production and refinement however this a relatively small employing sector. There is a larger scale demand for labour in drill and blast roles (with hundreds of opportunities), as well as in operations roles where there are thousands of advertised opportunities currently needing to be filled.”

Seek also found that housing construction job advertising classifications are performing particularly well, with trades and services up significantly for January, “demonstrating that while the residential housing boom is slowing, commercial building is sustaining a positive flow-on effect”.

“On a micro level, cleaning jobs also surged in January when compared to a year ago, suggesting our increasingly busy lives has made this the year we are investing in home help.”

The Seek Employment Index (SEI) - a measure of the availability of candidates for advertised positions - rose 0.5% per month in January to be 7% higher than a year ago.

Despite this small rise, Seek says that in trend terms the SEI has fallen very slightly in each of the past four months, “suggesting a weakening labour market for candidates (correspondingly easier for employers to source candidates) – particularly in Western Australia, but also in the Northern Territories, South Australia and “increasingly so for Queensland”.

“The positive news lies in the labour markets of New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT, which continue to tighten slightly according to the SEI, meaning it’s also slightly easier for job seekers to find employment,” Ilczynski concludes.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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