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Australia’s Job Market Remains Strong

Despite interest rate hikes and a decline of job ads, there was a steady increase in employment during the final quarter of 2023.

By Maggie Mancini

Australia’s job market is off its peak, though employment continues to grow at a healthy rate despite a series of interest rate hikes and weakening consumer and business confidence throughout the fourth quarter of 2023, according to research from PersolKelly 

There was a steady uptick in employment of 28,300 people between September and October 2023, driven by an increase of 2,000 full-time jobs and 26,300 part-time jobs. The unemployment rate stood steady in October 2023 at 3.7%.  

This strength comes as job ads fell 3% month-on-month in October. The ANZ-Indeed Job Ads Index points out that while job ads are 11.2% lower than their peak in September 2022, the overall level of job ads is still high. In a separate employment report from SEEK, job ads recorded a 5% in October 2023 after several months of incremental declines, particularly in hospitality and tourism (11.6%).  

The proportion of employers expecting to increase headcount dropped by 5% to 20% in October 2023. Only 2% of employers were expecting their staffing levels to decrease.  

The pattern of wage growth indicates that salaries are edging higher, though not exploding, the report finds. SEEK’s advertised salary index shows growth in advertised salaries of 0.3% in October 2023, a drop from the prior three months. Year-on-year salary growth remains strong at 4.6%.  

Despite an overall return to normal following the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of jobs that can be done at home has not bounced back. Before COVID, the work-from-home rate was 1.6%, but there has been no sign of remote work returning to those pre-pandemic levels. The WFH rate rose from over 6% of job ads in 2021 to a peak of 11% in April 2023. Since then, it has fallen slightly, hitting 10% in October 2023.  

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