Australia’s jobs market hasn’t been stellar this year, with wages languishing and the unemployment and underemployment rate creeping up.
So what does the job market hold for us next year?
According to job ad platform Seek.com.au, some sectors are being more cautious than others while others are at a turning point.
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Here’s what we should expect to see in 2020:
1. The public sector will keep employment afloat
The public sector saw thousands of job ads go up this year, particularly in the education and training as well as the healthcare and medical sector – and this trend will continue.
The healthcare and medical sector grew faster than any other industry this year (8.7 per cent), with this growth being driven by Australia’s growing population, which demands greater healthcare assistance.
“We’ve seen a consistent demand for disability and aged care roles, with nursing, personal care and allied health being predominant drivers of job ad growth,” said Seek Australia and New Zealand managing director Kendra Banks.
“It’s questionable how much more the public sector can boost employment overall, but for these specific industries, there’s no sign of slowing down in the new year.”
2. Construction-related trades at a ‘turning point’
Property prices hit rock-bottom in mid-2019 – and it also brought construction activity down with it. This meant there was more supply than demand, and roles such as supervisors, forepersons, project managers and machinery operators were in decline, according to Seek’s 2020 Trends report.
But major public infrastructure projects in NSW and Victoria’s pipeline will mean that this is expected to turn around as the Sydney Metro, Western Sydney Airport and WestConnex in NSW and the Melbourne Metro Tunnel and West Gate Tunnel projects in Victoria get underway.
“These large infrastructure projects will mean there is likely to be plenty of opportunity for skilled workers to seek employment in the new year, as sectors such as Trades and Services, Construction, Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics benefit from the development of these important projects,” said Banks.
3. Permanent vs temporary work is steady
The demand for temporary work has actually stabilised across the last three years, even in sectors that typically rely on temp employees such as retail and information communications technology.
But in the long-term, temp work is in greater demand: a decade ago, temp workers accounted for less than 19 per cent of job ads, but in 2019 constituted nearly 27 per cent of job ads.
“Temporary work is accounting for a larger share of employment, and while there is no evidence to suggest this will accelerate significantly through 2020, it is part of a longer-term trend that we’re continuing to see,” the report said.
4. The financial services sector is watching its back
This sector has been under heavy scrutiny all year, thanks to the Banking Royal Commission shedding light on the systemic misconduct in the industry, meaning demand for risk and compliance jobs has been shooting up since 2017-18.
“SEEK expects Risk and Compliance will continue being a core focus for the private sector more broadly in the new year, as business continue to respond to more active regulators,” the report said.
“Compliance officers, directors of risk and audit, operations risk and risk and business continuity roles are contributing to job growth in the sector.”