Australia’s jobs market continues to boom, with the number of workers without employment still at historical lows despite a slight increase in the headline rate to 3.5 per cent in August.
While cost of living pressures are front of mind for many, most Australians can rest easy in terms of job security, with the current skills shortage meaning there are more job vacancies than workers available to fill them.
But is this the same picture across the country, or are jobseekers in some states seeing more opportunity than others?
Also read: Aussie Salaries growing but not fast enough
According to the latest report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the state with the lowest unemployment rate in Australia is currently ACT (2.7 per cent), closely followed by Western Australia (WA) (3.1 per cent). The highest is Tasmania at 4.9 per cent, with the Eastern Seaboard states all around the national average of 3.5 per cent.
Yahoo Finance spoke with Nick Deligiannis, managing director of the ANZ region for recruitment firm Hays, to get his view.
Skills shortages exist "across the country"
“These geographical breakdowns are interesting, but the skills shortage exists across the country. We operate in every state and territory, and every single Hays office is working to find skills in short supply for employers in their region,” Deligiannis said.
He goes on to say that even at 4.9 per cent, Tasmania’s unemployment rate still sits below pre-pandemic levels, emphasising that today’s skills shortage in Australia is the most acute he’s seen in his near 30-year recruitment career.
Although states such as ACT and WA have lower nominal unemployment rates, the pain being felt by employers in trying to secure skilled resources for their businesses is universal, rather than confined to individual regions.
The top 5 jobs that need workers the most
Despite the shortage of experienced staff across most of the economy, it’s inevitable that some skills will be more in demand than others. so which positions are Deligiannis’ company finding the most difficult to hire for?
Here are the top five most in-demand jobs, where workers are needed the most:
1. IT project managers
2. Civil engineers
3. Software developers
5. Heavy diesel fitters
“It varies slightly from region to region, but we are consistently seeing demand for IT project managers, civil engineers, software developers and accountants exceeding other skillsets in all states,” he said.
Deligiannis said the continued need of businesses to embark on digital transformation is driving the demand for IT project managers, who are needed to lead such programs.
Equally, significant opportunities exist for software developers as organisations look to improve their customer facing digital channels.
A strong pipeline of infrastructure projects is also increasing the need for engineering skills across the country, in a market that is already experiencing skills shortages – especially for those with public sector and subdivision experience.
In addition to these national trends, employment markets in the traditional mining states of Queensland and Western Australia are seeing increasing opportunities for heavy diesel fitters, who specialise in the repair and maintenance of heavy vehicles and plant equipment.
While these five professions are proving to be particularly difficult for recruiters to identify suitable resources for, Deligiannis is keen to clarify that opportunities exist across the entire employment market at present.
In his view, even when factoring in the welcome policy changes implemented as a result of the Job Summit, Australia's skills shortage looks set to continue for a while yet.
Salaries on the rise
The positive side of the equation for Australians workers is that this shortage of skilled and available labour is starting to translate into higher salaries.
“Intense competition for skilled professionals is translating into gradual salary increases across the board,” Deligiannis said.
According to the most recent Hays Salary Guide data, 88 per cent of employers have or will increase salaries this financial year, up from 67 per cent last year.
While this trend will increase costs for Australian businesses, a rise in salaries for employees will increase their disposal incomes, which will hopefully prop up consumer confidence despite soaring prices.
Increasing wages was a key discussion point at the Albanese Government’s recent Job Summit, with all parties recognising that salaries have failed to keep up with inflation in recent years.
News that this is starting to happen will be good news for workers and policy makers alike.
With wage increases already starting to filtering through as a result, now might be a good time to ask your boss for that long overdue pay rise.