Job market reaches tipping point

Employment figures

By Kate Southam

Newly released data shows Australia’s job market is heating up placing new demands on organisations to “sell” what they have to offer as an employer.

IPA Recruitment’s monthly report reveals job openings in January increased by 12.8 per cent adding to gains in October and November.

“Workers are geared-up and confident” about changing jobs and will even move across the country to get the best deal according to IPA Recruitment’s CEO Tricia Phillips. CareerOne’s own research – due out next week – reveals a majority of workers in a survey of nearly 1,000 people were currently looking for new jobs.

Ms Phillips advises employers to review all aspects of their recruitment process immediately including their speed to hire and the ability of their key people to “sell” their organisation to job hunters.

“Employers need to really understand why people exit their organisation and also ensure everyone involved in their recruitment process knows how best to sell their organisation to candidates,” says Ms Phillips.

“If they used to take three weeks to short list candidates then they might need to speed that up or face finding their shortlist is empty because those candidates have accepted jobs elsewhere [in that time] .”

IPA’s monthly report is based on job vacancies placed by clients with its consultants in 28 branches around the country. Industry sectors include call and contact centres, executive, legal, industrial and trades, technical and engineering, mining and resources, governments, logistics and health.

Other key monthly job data is due out in the coming week including the Advantage and ANZ surveys.  The Australian Bureau of Statistics was due to release its official unemployment rate for January  next week but has been postponed the release date due to Queensland’s floods and cyclone. The unemployment dropped to 5 per cent in December, the lowest level since January 2009.

Ms Phillips says the IPA job ad increase does not include hiring activity expected to be generated by Queensland’s rebuilding projects. She says demand for trade, engineering and construction talent was already strong due to Australia’s aging workforce reducing the number of available candidates at a time when the number of infrastructure projects around the country such as roads, housing, schools and hospitals was increasing.

As rebuilding projects begin in Queensland, IPA predicts job openings across services industries, manufacturing and trade sectors would put upward pressure on wages in those sectors.

Ms Phillips says employers face additional difficulties due to the increased mobility of the workforce. She says local workers as well as those coming in from overseas were prepared to go anywhere in Australia to secure the best working conditions.

February 4, 2011.

Kate Southam is the Editor of and author of the Ask Kate column and the Cube Farmer blog about work matters.

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