Australian jobs 2017: a vital resource of employment intermediaries

As part of its support for job seekers, retrenched workers and people considering training and employment, in 2016–17 the Department released the 2017 edition of the annual Australian jobs. The report provides information about trends in the Australian labour market, industries and occupations (identifying those where there have been new jobs created and those in which there have been job losses) as well as regional labour markets.

The 2017 edition has a strong focus on young people and the opportunities and challenges they face. Among other things, it provides information on how employers recruit and the attributes they seek, data on education and training pathways, and discussion of the changing nature of the world of work. It also provides information to assist people at all stages of their working life, whether they are looking for their first job, returning to the workforce or transitioning between sectors.

Australian jobs is a highly regarded publication. More than 100,000 copies are distributed to a wide range of users—jobactive, secondary schools, Centrelink, higher education and vocational education organisations and employment and careers intermediaries, as well as a range of other stakeholders.

The survey of employers who have recently advertised

To gain an understanding of employers’ ability to recruit the workers they need, and to identify current and emerging shortages in skilled occupations such as professions and trades, the Department spoke with close to 5,000 employers and analysed a wide range of labour market indicators. The results informed its submission to the annual review of the Skilled Occupation List, which is used to guide Australia’s independent skilled migration program.

The results of this ongoing skill shortage research are also published on the Department’s website as analytical and statistical reports and listings of occupational shortages.

The survey of employers’ recruitment experiences

As part of the ongoing survey of employers’ recruitment experiences, the Department interviewed about 14,000 employers across Australia in 2016–17. The survey program is conducted continuously throughout the year to assess regional recruitment conditions and identify how job seekers can better meet the needs of employers. 

The survey contains a core set of questions that are repeated each year to monitor trends. Examples of the headline indicators monitored are the difficulties employers face filling positions, the level of competition for vacancies, and employers’ methods of recruitment. Additional questions are included on an ad hoc basis to collect insights from employers on a wider range of matters that are of interest to the Department. In 2016–17, questions were added on topics such as work experience, seasonality, ex-offenders, refugees and retrenched workers.

Among users of the survey data and analyses are employers, business and industry groups, jobactive providers, policy makers, career advisors, school teachers and Vocational Education and Training coordinators, students, community groups, job seekers (including disadvantaged job seekers), and youth transition service providers who identify pathways for young people moving from school to work. Survey results are disseminated in a range of ways—reports, infographics, presentations published on the Department’s website and on the Labour Market Information Portal.

In 2016–17, the Department delivered 90 presentations attended by more than 5,250 stakeholders across Australia. Feedback from the presentations was overwhelmingly positive, and copies of the presentations and related information were widely distributed. Information sessions have also been provided for employees of companies experiencing retrenchments—including Arrium in South Australia, Hazelwood in Victoria, and Ford, Holden and automotive industry supply chain companies—as well as at jobs fairs run by the Department.

Labour market conditions

Labour market conditions improved in 2016–17, with the level of employment increasing by 240,200 (or 2.0 per cent) to stand at 12,166,900 in June 2017, above the annual average growth rate (of 1.6 per cent) over the last decade.

The increase in employment in 2016–17 was due, primarily, to strong growth in full-time employment, which has risen by 175,400 (or 2.1 per cent) to stand at 8,356,000 in June 2017. By contrast, the level of part-time employment has increased by a more moderate 64,800 (or 1.7 per cent) over the period, to 3,810,800 in June 2017.

Against the backdrop of strong employment growth, the unemployment rate declined slightly, from 5.8 per cent in June 2016, to 5.7 per cent in June 2017, while the participation rate increased by 0.2 percentage points, to stand at 65.0 per cent in June 2017.

The youth unemployment rate was steady over 2016–17 financial year, at 13.1 per cent. It remains more than double the rate recorded for all persons. The level of youth employment contracted over the year by 2,300 (or 0.1 per cent) due entirely to a fall in full-time employment (down by 16,000 or 1.9 per cent). By contrast, the level of youth part-time employment increased (by 12,400 or 1.3 per cent) over the period, in conjunction with a 0.9 percentage point rise in the proportion of youth participating in full-time education, to 53.3 per cent in June 2017, an equal record high.