There’s no doubt about it—2017 was a strong year for the Australian labour market. There were 403,100 new jobs added over the year and the unemployment rate dropped to an almost five-year low of 5.4%. NSW was responsible for 140,000 of those jobs, while Victoria lagged behind, adding only 87,000 roles to the mix. The main areas of growth were concentrated in healthcare, construction and hospitality, all of which experienced a boom.
Demand for healthcare professionals reflected Australia’s ageing population; construction workers had their hands full with residential properties and large-scale infrastructure projects, and the hospitality sector sought more staff to help service our $640 million a month habit of dining out.
While it remains to be seen whether we’ll experience an equally impressive run of job creation in 2018, there are several key industries that will require more than just a few extra hands on deck to meet demand.
Let’s take a look at what they are and what you can do to fill these roles.
Healthcare and social assistance was the country’s top employing industry in 2017, with 1,509,200 workers. When Indeed’s data scientists recently analysed the top 20 hardest to fill professional roles in Australia (jobs that take more than 60 days to fill), the majority were in the healthcare sector.
From radiologists and dentists, to physiotherapists, GPs, home care nurses and medical receptionists, it’s difficult to hire for roles across the industry. One of Australia’s largest healthcare providers, HealthStrong, employs a range of tactics to attract staff in this tight market. Their top tips? Keep your job listings up-to-date, get them on mobile and use data strategically.
Considering that 15% of the population is aged 65 and over, we’ll need an ever-growing workforce to care for our ageing Baby Boomers.
Machine learning, augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain; 2017’s buzzwords look set to feature heavily in the job descriptions of 2018. And it’s not just the tech giants who’ll be using them—businesses across the board are scrambling to keep up with innovations in technology. With this comes the continuing challenge to hire skilled workers to meet the widespread application of new technologies across a range of industries.
Jobs in AI are a perfect example. Indeed’s data reveals there are almost twice as many AI jobs than there are qualified applicants in Australia. Competition for this limited pool of candidates is fierce, with available roles outstripping potential new hires. In fact, AI technology underpinning a growing array of modern digital services including smart home devices, product recommendations on online shopping websites and customer service chatbots, has contributed to a seventeen-fold surge in AI job postings.
Gazing out across the heart of the city (particularly in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) it’s impossible not to notice the imposing army of contorted cranes that disrupt the skyline. Surveying company Rider Levett Bucknall’s last bi-annual crane index is proof that the construction boom is far from over. Of the 685 cranes spread across the country, 350 were in Sydney, 151 in Melbourne, 85 across Brisbane, 31 in the Gold Coast, 25 in Perth, 18 in Canberra, 17 in Adelaide, 5 in Newcastle, 3 in Hobart, with 0 in Darwin. New residential properties are creating thousands of opportunities for workers across the country.
While residential construction activity may fall a little in 2018 as house prices begin to ease (much to the delight of those trying to enter the market), major commercial and transportation infrastructure projects will kick-off over the next twelve months. This should keep demand for construction workers high.
Finally, things also look brighter for the mining sector in 2018, particularly in Western Australia. About 46 per cent of all resources job vacancies are located there, with opportunities in the state up 32.9 per cent last year. Improved commodity prices have reignited confidence in the industry leading to an increase in mining activity and skilled workers in the sector are once again in demand.
Where we saw declines
Jobs in the finance and banking sector experienced declines throughout 2017. If property prices continue to cool and suspected interest rate hikes kick in (triggering a slowdown in lending), there’s a chance employment in this industry will continue to drop in 2018.
Once regarded as a source of national pride and the jewel of Aussie manufacturing, employment in motor vehicle production has tumbled 42% since 2006, despite healthy household and business demand for cars. The end of automobile production in Australia has left thousands of people out of work—many of whom spent their entire career in the industry.
Recruiters sourcing candidates for tough to fill roles should see this as an opportunity to hire based on transferable skills. The Australian Government recently commissioned a report to help both employees and employers identify what these skills are and job opportunities linked to them.
How to win talent in tough markets
Whatever industry you’re hiring for in 2018 one thing’s certain—it’s important to work on your employer brand. Offering a slew of perks, a great culture and flexible working hours won’t help to attract the right talent unless you get the basics right. That is, writing job descriptions that are clear and free of jargon, not expecting candidates to endure hours of tech tasks before even setting foot through the door for an interview, and ensuring your reputation is in check.
Encourage your employees to spread the word about what they like best about your company through their online and social media profiles, as well as your Indeed Company Page. Word of mouth speaks volumes when it comes to considering a workplace, so ensure you’re projecting a positive perception of your company to the wider community.
Also, take time to ensure the applicant experience is smooth and concise. Positive experiences shared by current and previous members of staff (and even those who have interviewed at your company without success) can often be the deciding factor as to whether job seekers apply for your vacancies or those of your competitors.
With these tips in mind and a thoughtful reassessment of your recruiting tactics, you can build a well-oiled hiring process that consistently sends top talent your way.