REOS spotlight: Widespread softening in recruitment activity across Australia

This story was first published on Monday 6 November 2023.

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Today, Jobs and Skills Australia released its new look quarterly Recruitment Expectations and Outlook Survey (REOS) report for the September quarter 2023. It provides a detailed breakdown of REOS results across the states and territories, remoteness areas, industry and occupation.

Survey results show that recruitment activity has softened across all states and territories compared with a year ago. There were widespread declines in both the recruitment rate and recruitment difficulty rate over this period.

The largest annual decline in the recruitment rate over the year was recorded in Victoria, which was down by 17 percentage points.

Victoria also recorded the lowest recruitment rate of any state or territory in the September quarter 2023, with 43% of employers recruiting. On the other hand, Western Australia recorded the highest recruitment rate of any state (55%).

Recruitment activity was also particularly strong in the Northern Territory (67%) - noting that data for the territories are averaged over the last six months to reduce variability. The Northern Territory also topped the list with the highest recruitment difficulty rate, of 68% in the September quarter 2023.

Finding the right staff for their vacancies was most difficult in Outer Regional, Remote and Very Remote Australia, with these employers experiencing the highest recruitment difficulty rate (67%), compared with 57% for those in major cities.

All reported industries recorded a decline in their recruitment rate over the year. While lower than last year, Accommodation and Food Services had the highest rate of recruitment in the September quarter 2023 (69%) and shows the most optimism around their staffing outlook, with 36% who expected to increase staffing over the next three months. This likely reflects the seasonal recruitment that occurs in the lead up to Christmas.

Recruiting was particularly challenging for employers within the Health Care and Social Assistance industry (71% experienced recruitment difficulty) and for employers recruiting for Technicians and Trade Workers (75%).

Read the full spotlight article on the REOS webpage.