Canberra has seen an increasingly buoyant employment market strengthening throughout the 2016 financial year with continued growth in most corporate areas. The return to form of Government recruitment activity since the beginning of the 2015 financial year has been substantial. Whilst the Government recruitment market has switched on in the typically rapid ‘tap on – tap off’ style they are renowned for, the private sector has been steadily improving and there are very positive signs for the year ahead.
Let’s break down the facts and have a look at some numbers…..
Growth in jobs advertised are up 7.8% on last year across all industries and states (SEEK Employment trends, May 2016), despite significant drops in mining and related employment in WA. Overall, unemployment has a slow trend down (ABS, July 2016) but is only slightly down on the same time last year despite positive hiring activity particularly in the corporate sector.
But the big news from SEEK is that
Government job advertising is up a massive 52% on May last year (SEEK Employment trends, May 2016), and naturally this has a huge impact on our region. ABS job vacancy surveys indicate an overall increase of 8.4% on last year including a massive 26.2% increase in Government job vacancies (ABS, May 2016).
Business confidence also appears to be on the rise with a recent SEEK survey finding 70% of employers anticipate increasing business activity in the next year. Accordingly, these employers are looking at their staff capacity with:
- 40% of organisations to increase permanent headcount this FY, compared with 20% last FY
- 21% of organisations plan to increase their temporary/contract staff headcount
To repeat, the big news is Government has turned it on with job advertising up 52% nationally from May last year. This has impacted overall job advertising, which is up 25% in the ACT (SEEK, 2016).
As the market gained momentum through the last financial year, we observed there has been a broadening of the types of opportunities available. Private sector activity has been increasingly positive and much of this work has been new permanent hires.
Additionally, whilst the majority of our work continues to be specialist recruitment in niche technical areas, there is considerably more work in broader, non-specific work areas. Key areas of growth include:
- General Administration and
- Procurement and Contract Management
- Program, Project and Policy support/administration
- Project Management, Project Delivery Some other key highlights include:
- Consulting firms locally confirm reaching record numbers with EY above 300 staff locally and the fastest growing firm in Canberra, Synergy, hitting 130+ in record time.
- Our busy scribing desk received 250% more work than the previous financial year….A clear indicator of the increased permanent hiring in Government.
- The election caretaker period had the smallest impact ever, potentially because it occurred in June/July – Canberra’s busiest time for recruitment.
Where to from here?
Our view is that activity stimulates new activity. With recruitment activity plus business confidence on the rise, Canberra will continue to see steadily increasing recruitment activity throughout the financial year. We will also start to see significant talent shortages in not only all the usual technical niche areas, but spreading into mainstream recruitment as well.
The only potential hitches are:
- Short term hiring freezes in Government through the post-election shuffling of Minister chairs (e.g. the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has just announced an immediate hiring freeze on all staff)
- Further trimming of APS numbers through merging organisations and targeted job cuts.
- The ACT Government election may have an impact on overall business activity for a short period around this time.