Monday, September 06, 2010

Gee, the hiatus would mean... employers are hiring

Employers continued to hire at a rapid pace in August regardless of - and in some cases because of - the election, boosting internet job ads 2.8 per cent nationwide.

The Advantage index, made up of advertisements on three leading websites including The Sydney Morning Herald's My MyCareer shows job ads up 1.8 per cent in NSW led by a 9 per cent surge in legal jobs.

"When the economy is performing poorly, law firms can be ruthless in culling numbers," said Advantage director Robert Olivier. "For the most part they retained graduates during the crisis, but operated at leaner senior associate and partner levels. They are now scrambling to hire experienced professionals to fill the gap."

Construction and engineering hiring climbed 9 per cent and 4 per cent during the month with hospitality, education and finance hiring up 3 per cent. Healthcare, clerical and media jobs lost ground.

Economists surveyed by Reuters expect Thursday's employment figures to show an extra 29,000 Australians gained work in August, an acceleration in the rate of job creation to 1000 per day.

The ANZ's Andrew McManus expects even faster job creation saying Thursday's figure is "set to be a whopper" on account of the election itself...

"We know the Australian Electoral Commission aimed to recruit more than 70,000 people to work as polling officials on 21 August. While many would already hold other jobs and thus already be counted in the employment figures there are others such as students and retirees who will be counted," he said.

"We think we could see employment growth of around 50,000 in August, enough to nudge the unemployment rate down from 5.3 to 5.2 per cent. But there will be payback in September as those jobs vanish."

Mr Olivier said the election hiatus had made employers unusually reluctant to hire permanently with advertisements for temporary or part-time positions outnumbering those full-time permanent jobs 2 to 1.

"They are hiring but they're hedging their bets. No doubt they will firm up their recruitment strategies when then there is a definite outcome,” he said.

Nationally mining and engineering are the fastest-growing employers boosting hiring 30 per cent over the past six months.

"Miners certainly haven't been holding back in anticipation of a tax on their profits," said Mr Olivier. "In fact, they have hit the employment button hard. Any suggestion that a mining tax could bring the sector undone when all the indicators confirm it is booming seems a bit self serving."

Western Australia has by far Australia's tightest labour market with job ads up 47 per cent over the year compared to 29 per cent in NSW and 27 per cent in Victoria.

A Bureau of Statistics survey on labour mobility finds workers tended to stay put during the downturn with a lower than usual 9 per cent changing jobs in the twelve months to February. Earlier surveys had recorded job turnover of 12 per cent.

Published in today's SMH and Age

Who's hiring?

NSW job ads, August

Legal + 9%
Construction + 9%
Engineering + 4%
Hospitality + 3%
Education +3%
Finance +3%
Accounting +2%
Trades - 2%
Healthcare - 9%
Clerical -11%
Media - 15%

Total + 1.80%

Monthly change, Advantage internet job advertisement index

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