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Canberra region job market update: A bright future ahead!

While we may be experiencing some really frigid mornings in Canberra, the good news is the Commonwealth recruitment freeze is now over! With people outside the APS now eligible to apply for permanent roles, there are significant implications for the whole market.

What’s been hot?

As predicted in our article in February’s B2B, the Canberra regions job market has continued on a steady incline towards recovery from a low base since August 2014.

A stream of hourly rate work, combined with the return of non-ongoing contracts following the April announcement of the end of the freeze, means that workflow has been dominated by large amounts of contract work from the Federal Government.

Market segments that have experienced significant surges of new work include:

• Technology – a range of contract work on large projects in Departments undergoing significant change as the Government invests in ICT to find efficiencies

• Accounting & Finance – the ‘more with less’ approach of Government in recent years has led to critical gaps in technical expertise requiring subject matter specialists to help out at the busiest time of year

• Program/Project Support – APS 4 to 6 level security cleared program support staff to support new initiatives, and programs that have bled staff for the past 2 years.

• Human Resources – HR areas have been very busy throughout the downsizing and restructuring, with recent spikes in demand for WH&S and L&D specialists.

What’s been cold?

Whilst the prominence of contract work has led to an improvement in the fluidity of the private sector permanent market, there has still been a distinct shortage of permanent roles, in particular above $110K. Some specific market segments that have struggled include:

• Executive and Senior Executive roles in the NFP and Commercial sectors – the last 6 months has been one of the quietest periods in the past decade

• Communications and Marketing – this sector has been quiet, but the second half of the year will improve as traditionally is the case

• EL2 level roles– whilst there has been significant movement at the SES1 and SES2 level in Government, the normal flow through to movement at the EL2 level has not occurred yet. Watch this space!

Recent observations of interest

Some key observations from the market and recent industry surveys include:

• 48 new permanent jobs were advertised on APSJobs on July 1, the official end of the recruitment freeze – a sign of things to come!

• Permanent recruitment is on the rise nationally with 36% of employers anticipating increasing permanent staff in the next year

• Hiring intentions in professional services are up 32.6% nationally, and this is particularly strong in Accounting and ICT

• The ACT and the NT have the strongest employment outlooks with a 14% increase in employer hiring expectations

Predictions for the next 6 months

We predict that the opening of Commonwealth recruitment to those outside the APS will make a big impact on overall recruitment activity across all market segments leading to a fully-fledged market by the end of the financial year. New trends will include:

• A significant increase in vacancies in the Private and NFP sector

• A large amount of Government recruitment activity starting with permanent recruitment through formal channels, closely followed by work through recruitment agencies

• A larger than normal proportion of the recruitment activity in Government over the next 3 – 6 months will involve securing employees who have been acting in roles for a significant period of time. Call before applying!

• CONTROVERSY: A surprise election might change everything!

Please contact Simon Cox, Director at HorizonOne Recruitment on
02 6108 4878 or [email protected]

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