Rising fill rates point to potential labour market softening

This story was first published on Wednesday 10 May 2023.

If you wish to use this content, please contact media@jobsandskills.gov.au to confirm that the information is still current.

Employers recruiting for skilled vacancies are becoming increasingly likely to fill positions, based on survey findings reported in Jobs and Skills Australia’s new Skills Shortage Quarterly (SSQ) report.

The national fill rate for skilled occupations – jobs that generally require a higher qualification such as a Bachelor degree or Certificate III/IV – stood at 63% in the March 2023 quarter. This was up from 59% in the December 2023 quarter and from 56% in the March 2022 quarter. That is, for the March 2023 quarter, 63% of jobs advertised were filled for the skilled occupations which were assessed. 

The rising fill rate, alongside easing recruitment difficulty (as measured by the Recruitment Experiences and Outlook Survey) and relatively stable job ads (as measured by the Internet Vacancy Index), point to a potential labour market softening.

There was little quarterly change in the number of applicants per vacancy and suitable applicants per vacancy, however both have seen significant rises over the past year. In the March 2023 quarter, there were an average of 14.1 applicants per vacancy (up from 10.1 in March 2022) and 2.4 suitable applicants per vacancy (up from 1.7 in March 2022).

Going forward, occupation shortages may unwind if fill rates continue to pick up and the number of qualified and suitable applicants per vacancy increase.

The SSQ is a new report presenting quarterly analysis on occupation shortage pressures, drawing on data from JSA’s Survey of Employers who Recently Advertised (SERA). The SSQ complements and expands on skill shortage discussions in JSA’s quarterly Labour Market Update (LMU) report and stands alongside the Internet Vacancy Index and Recruitment Experiences Outlook Survey as a key indicator of the direction of the labour market.