What Australian Jobs Look Like in 2019
The Australian Government’s Department of Jobs and Small Business uncovered some interesting developments in the labour market and employment growth over the last 30 years in their ‘Australian Jobs 2019’ report.
Some of the key takeaways include how the Education and Training sector can respond to changing workforce demands, and what skills job seekers should develop to improve their employability in the face of an evolving labour market.
Key takeaways from each state and territory
Victoria has seen the strongest employment growth in Australia over the past five years, reaching a total of 3,339,200 workers, with the bulk of employment occurring in Melbourne. Interestingly, Victorian workers are more likely to be self-employed than individuals in other states, with 18% of the state workforce striking out on their own.
NSW remains Australia’s largest employing state, with 4.05 million individuals working in the state, mostly in Sydney. Employment growth over the past 4 years has been above the national average, with the largest growth being seen in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services sector.
Shifting from mining-based growth to more broadly-based growth, labour market conditions in Queensland have remained stable with employment increasing by 5.6% over the past five years. Vocational education is commonplace in Queensland, with 34% of workers holding a Certificate III or above.
Tasmania is the nation’s most regionally diverse state when it comes to employment, with 55% of jobs being outside of Hobart. The state also has the country’s oldest workforce, with 46% of workers being over the age of 45. Finally, Tasmania also sees the largest share of part-time work in the country, with 37% of state employment being in part-time work arrangements.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the bulk of Western Australia’s employment lies in mining, with 111,000 workers being employed in the industry. The state has seen weak employment growth due to falls in Construction. On the other hand, WA still accounts for 43% of the nation’s mining jobs despite the industry slowing down over the past five years. Having recovered strongly in the past year, mining continues to be one of the largest employing industries in WA, accounting for 8% of state jobs.
South Australian workers are less likely to hold post-school qualifications than workers in any other state or territory. 80% of state employment is concentrated in Adelaide, representing where the bulk of opportunity lies. Finally, youth employment is on the rise, increasing by 9500 (or 8%) over the past year.
80% of workers in the Northern Territory are employed on a full-time basis. Overall however, labour market conditions have weakened in the territory, with the level of employment decreasing by 2,500 (or 1.8%) over the past five years. Youth unemployment has also been concerning, rising by 2.1 percentage points over the year to 10.6% in January 2019.
The ACT is the most highly educated workforce in the country with more than 3/4 of workers holding post-school qualifications. Unsurprisingly, Public Administration and Safety is the largest employing industry with 66,700 individuals working in the field.
Opportunities and developments in the education sector
The report highlights some exciting opportunities and developments relevant to the education and training sector.
With Healthcare and Social Assistance being the largest-growing industry in the country (increasing by 163.2% across the 30-year time span surveyed), there is set to be a greater demand for education and training in this field.
This growth is due to the nation’s ageing population (which will only continue to need healthcare and social assistance services), the overall population increase, and the recent National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The Education and Training sector itself has seen huge growth, now being the 4th largest-growing industry over the past 30 years (increasing by 109.8%). This represents an opportunity for growth within the sector, particularly for private education providers who represent 70% of all enrolments in the vocational space.
The report finds that improved training needs to be provided to young people in high-demand areas to assist with employability. Youth long-term unemployment is 186.2% above the level recorded in September 2008, representing ongoing struggles with finding employment. According to the Department of Jobs and Small Business, “employment and training decisions should be based on a variety of factors including aptitude, interests, expectations of pay and working conditions, training and goals.”
On the increased demand for further education, the Department comments that:
“…the majority of employment growth over the past five years has been in occupations that generally require post-school qualifications (either VET or higher education), (so) the requirement for further education is set to grow.”
The Education and Training sector will need to respond not only to the demand for education and training in high-growth sectors, but also work towards supporting job-seekers upon the completion of their training or education.
Pursuing further education fast-tracks the job search for most Australians, with 77.3% of VET graduates being employed within six months of training. Workers who hold a Certificate III or higher earn more than those who have not studied after leaving school, while the median annual income for VET graduates working full-time six months after completing their training was $56,600. Vocational study areas with particularly strong employment outcomes immediately after graduation are Pharmacy, Medicine, Rehabilitation, Veterinary Science, Dentistry and Teacher Education.
Skills required for the future
The Department of Jobs and Small Business also looked into the skills required for the future of Australian jobs, finding that employability skills were just as important as technical skills.
For lower-skilled roles, traits such as reliability, motivation, good work ethic and personal presentation are highly regarded. For higher-skilled occupations, employers look for good communication, teamwork skills, empathy and organisational skills.
Some emerging skills identified by the report include creativity, initiative, innovation, critical-thinking, emotional intelligence, resilience and flexibility. The rise of
microcredentials in these skill sets further affirms their significance in the eyes of employers. With the rise of automation in the labour market, human skills like emotional and social intelligence are especially valued.
The future of Australian jobs
Overall, the report identifies a shift from goods to services as the nation’s population have greater disposable income to spend. According to the Department, “the steady progression of employment advancement in the labour market projects a strong future, with the switch to service is expected to continue to positively impact industry areas, such as ‘Health Care and Social Assistance.'”
66.4% of all future employment is expected to be in Health Care and Social Assistance, Construction, Education and Training and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services.
The future employment outlook looks strong, with total employment being projected to rise by 7.1% by May 2023.