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How is the Canberra region job market looking in 2016?


Canberra’s job market recovery is progressing positively and steadily, with recruitment activity increasing sharply and niche candidate markets are looking to make good on skill shortages.

Summarised below are some of the highlights in the numbers followed by our observations and insight.

National Outlook

The numbers
There have been significant increases in jobs advertised on SEEK. NSW/VIC/ACT are up on average almost 20% year on year.

Nationally however, there is only a slight increase with major falls in jobs advertised in WA and mining affected markets muting the national growth figure. A leader in this job growth appears to be in the Government / Defence sector with an average 14% increase for these jobs advertised on SEEK nationally.

Unemployment trends have dropped overall from 6.2 % to> 5.8% at the end of 2015.

There has interestingly been a drop in the number of applicants per job advertised in the past 12 months, indicating a tightening of available candidates and of labour markets in general.

There has been an exodus of corporate staff from mining dependent areas resulting in a large increase in applicants from Wester Australia and other areas where the mining decline is having a major impact.

We are seeing significant shortages starting to appear in niche markets, particularly where technology meets business or in highly technical niche roles. Business analysts, ICT Project Managers, financial systems specialists, and Applications/Software Developers are being snapped up across Australia/New Zealand and at increasing levels of remuneration, with demand outstripping supply.

ACT region

The numbers
The ACT leads the nation in advertised jobs growth with a cracking 22.5% increase in jobs advertised on SEEK year on year.

Of these advertised jobs, the SEEK category of ‘Government / Defence’ leads the way, up a whopping 43% from the end of 2015 when the 2014 recruitment freeze period ended.

From a low base of activity we are now seeing strong increases in private sector permanent hires. Horizon One recorded a growth of 250% in permanent recruitment sales in financial year Q2 over Q1 in 2015. Q3 is continuing this trend and then some! The recovery has been great to see as commercial business and the NFP/NGO sector often the slowest to recover after a Government spending ‘shutdown’.

The HorizonOne team have been busy! New job numbers are up across the board led by permanent recruitment in the private sector and maintained by increasing levels of contract recruitment in Government. It looks like the continent labour force is here to stay.

December and January, traditionally quieter months have delivered strong levels of new work, with new jobs in February up 160% from last year. All observations are indicating a very strong March to June recruitment period as the recruitment freeze starts to become a distant memory.

Things look very positive for Canberra. We will continue to see increased recruitment activity throughout the year with the market recovering to pre-recruitment freeze levels by mid/late 2016. There will however be a predictable freeze in new Government recruitment during the double election period (September/October) as Federal and ACT Governments shutdown pending election outcomes. With polling numbers indicating no change in Government, recruitment should recommence before the end of the year and contract recruitment is likely to continue throughout relatively unaffected.


Sourcing talent is a science, not a sales game

Please contact Simon Cox,
Principal Consultant / Director at
HorizonOne Recruitment on 02 6108 4878 or
[email protected]
Level 1, 27 Torrens Street, Braddon

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