New Year, New Job: But Where do Aussies Want to Work?

Melbourne NYE fireworks

New Year’s Eve—whatever your experience of the final night of the year, one thing is certain: Australia is renowned for its fireworks. Melbourne spent $2.8 million on its 10-minute pyrotechnics display, whilst Sydney’s 12-minute light show reportedly set the city back a whopping $7 million.

Though, whether you were amongst the crowds at Darling Harbour, watching from the comfort of your couch, or attending a fireworks display elsewhere, after the clock strikes 12 and the reality of heading back to work in a few days kicks in, so does something else; a desire for change. To do something different this year.

Whether it’s a yearning to switch vocations, step out of your comfort zone, expand your skill-base, or do the same work elsewhere for a better salary, the first month of the year sees more people actively looking for new opportunities. How many and where in Australia are they searching for work? Let’s take a look at the data—and what this means for employers.

Employees are eager for change

Each year on Indeed, January sees a spike in job search activity that lasts well into the first weeks of February. After hitting this peak, it remains constant (dipping only during other holiday periods such as Easter and other public holidays when people are enjoying time off).

Job seekers come out in force in January

While it’s true that people look for jobs all year round, there’s nothing quite like the beginning of a new year to kickstart your enthusiasm to strive for something better paid, more rewarding or that provides greater job satisfaction.

For employers looking to hire, the January/February spike in job seeker activity means it’s a good time to post a job. In particular, those seeking talent for hard to fill positions, should strike while the iron is hot. Write a job description that accurately fits the role you are trying to fill, and whether you’re a large organisation or a small business, don’t forget to sell yourself. Demonstrate how your company can be the change people want to see in their careers this year.

After all, market conditions are ripe for anyone who’s hiring. The Australian labour market enjoyed a remarkable run throughout 2017. Employment increased by 371,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to an almost five-year low. Things look to continue in a similar vein this year.

This brings us to the next interesting finding in job search trends over the past 12 months: location.

There’s no place like home

So we know about when job seekers are active, but where are they seeking work? When we crunched the numbers on the most popular cities, eight out of the top ten searches were for roles situated in Sydney and Melbourne (which make up more than 40 per cent of Australia’s population), with Canberra and Hobart rounding out the list.

Top cities/regions for job seeker growth

Top cities/regions for job seeker growth: Sydney CBD; Melbourne City Center; Parramatta; Melbourne Northern Suburbs; Canberra; Blacktown; Hobart; Melbourne Eastern Suburbs; Melbourne Western Suburbs; Sydney Western Suburbs

That might not come as much of a surprise to most. However, one notable discovery of importance to employers is that people are being very specific with their searches; listing particular geographic regions within each of these state capitals.

Sydney and Melbourne CBD searches topped the list, but regions outside of the city centre experienced impressive growth. Here, no doubt, rising living costs (housing in particular, which makes up one-quarter of households’ spending) is a contributing factor. People are moving further out of the city centre due to rising rents and property prices.

It’s a trend that’s likely to continue: Western Sydney is the most populous and fastest growing region in all of Sydney. Research by Western Sydney University predicts that in the next 20 years, two out of every three new Sydneysiders will live there. So it makes sense that suburbs such as Parramatta and Blacktown have seen 39.8% and 34.2 per cent growth in job searches last year.

Searches outside of Melbourne’s city centre were also popular, with searches for the northern, eastern and western suburbs all seeing increases of more than 30 per cent year over year.

An office in the suburbs is now viewed as a drawcard, so use it to your advantage. Employers with offices in these areas should highlight this in their job descriptions. Recruiters reaching out to talent can also use geography as a selling point.

Seize the day—and the talent

Whilst the new year heralds new beginnings, every month is a good one to find the right candidates for your company. After all, opportunities often present themselves at just the right time for people to embrace them.

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