The impact of seasonal trends across industries
- Increase in unskilled worker pool
- Curiosity does not get the better of candidates
- Contentment in the lead up to the summer holiday season
The National Skills Commission released it’s 2022 Skills Priority List, an annual report that highlights occupations that are in shortage and also predicts future demand. The list shows that this year there are shortages across 286 occupations, 31% of occupations assessed, compared to 153 occupations in 2021. It comes as no surprise to learn that those occupations most in demand include health care professionals and technicians and trade workers. Also in demand are IT professionals and gardeners. At the other end of the scale, clerical and administrative staff and sales workers are reporting no shortages.
The shortage of technicians and trade workers has been consistent over the last few years. We find, here in Central Queensland, that applicants for these jobs are few. Suitably qualified applicants (usually needing to hold a Certificate III or IV qualification or equivalent) are minimal, albeit we have seen a small, but noticeable, increase in skilled trade workers in the CQ job market recently. Employers in our region are reporting struggles with attracting and retaining un-skilled and semi-skilled workers, such as labourers and trades assistants.
This said, we do expect to see an increase in candidates entering the local jobs market over the next few weeks, as some annual contracts come to an end. With the approach of the summer and Christmas season, many businesses in the construction and trades industries shed casual and excess staff, as they go into their quiet time of year.
Conversely, within the retail and hospitality industries, casual positions have increased as we approach the holiday season. With no major shortages in these industries, and with graduating students coming into the candidate pool, the outlook for employers filling these positions is positive. For those unskilled labourers looking to fill their lean summer months, they might find competition to secure these casual roles high.
Staying put is the new status quo
We have recently experienced candidate reluctance to make the move to another job is exacerbating the current skills shortage in Central Queensland. Candidates are showing curiosity and exploring the jobs market, with the knowledge that their skills are demand. However, after successfully interviewing and negotiating agreeable salary packages, when it comes to the crunch, they are choosing to stay in their existing roles. The process of going through the recruitment process seems to be sufficient validation to prove to many curious candidates that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side.
Another factor affecting candidates’ reluctance to make the move is the lack of salary and pay increasing in line with the rising cost of living. Whilst salary negotiations may promise an uplift on current pay and salary packages, generally these are not keeping up with rise in mortgage and loan rates, and escalating food and fuel prices. We need to bear in mind that it’s not only workers that are affected by these pressures. Candidates are savvy to the fact that these issues are also putting pressure on the bottom line of many businesses. With this in mind, the old adage of ‘last in, first out’, is also putting the brakes on the candidate mobility.
Jobs In Central Queensland statistics
The number of vacancy searches on the Jobs In Central Queensland website were down 4.3% in October, compared with September. This is indicative of fewer active job seekers in October. Whilst we are seeing a seasonal swell in new job seekers due to high school graduates entering the market, we are experiencing a period where the local workforce is content to go into summer and the holiday period in the stability of their existing roles, postponing the stress and tension of the job search until well into the new year.
In keeping with the seasonal casual vacancies that come to the market at this time of year, the job ads on the Jobs In Central Queensland website with the highest number of responses were in the hospitality, administration and retail sectors. A key search term used on the site was ‘casual’.
Also in line with current skills shortages, job ads on the site with the least number of responses were in the trades and services, education and government sectors.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data
The ABS latest Labour Force Survey reports that the national unemployment rate decreased even further to 3.4%, whilst the participation rate remained at 66.6%. The employment-to-population ratio remained at 64.3%, which measures employment relative to the size of the population.
For more information and insights about the local CQ job market and opportunities Register.