Labour Market Update

This story was first published on Tuesday 30 May 2023.

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Australia’s labour market conditions are robust, however the present skills gap in many parts of the labour market remains an economic challenge according to the latest quarterly report for March 2023 released by Jobs and Skills Australia.

The report found that over the past year, around 92% of total employment growth has been in occupations where some level of post-secondary school qualifications is usually required, while around two-thirds of total employment has been in occupations where VET qualifications are the primary pathway.

The report found that the likelihood of employers filling an advertised vacancy has improved slightly in the last quarter (from 59% in the December 2022 quarter to 63% in the March 2023 quarter). However, nationally, occupations that struggled to be filled included Construction Trades Workers, Automotive and Engineering Trades Workers, Electrotechnology and Telecommunications Trades Workers, and Health Professionals.

Some regional areas also continued to face skills pressures in critical fields such as health and engineering, where employers in regional areas consistently reported a lower likelihood of filling vacancies and fewer applicants per vacancy than those in capital cities. Some regional areas also continued to face skills pressures for critical roles, such as General Practitioners and Resident Medical Officers, that are much more acute than pressures felt in capital cities for the same occupation.

While skills shortages continued, the report also showed that there was a strong increase in full-time employment and improvements for the long-term unemployed.

The quarter showed positive signs for those who have been out of the workforce for a year or more with the number of long-term unemployed people falling by more than 11,000. The lowest recorded since 2009. The continuation of low employment has been leading to better outcomes for the long-term unemployed and the underemployed, albeit that the unemployment rate has since increased slightly, to 3.7% in April 2023.