Monthly Market Review February 2022

Posted on Monday, March 21, 2022 by EditorNo comments

Jobs In CQ’s monthly job market review gives businesses, recruiters and the Central Queensland community, insights into what happened in the local CQ employment market last month – including sector labour market performance and talent insights.

 February 2022 Overview

  • Volume of advertised vacancies increases but number of overall jobs decreases
  • War in Ukraine impacting global financial markets
  • Petrol prices soar to record highs affecting households and businesses
  • Staff absences due to COVID-19 quarantine impacting workplaces
  • An abundance of opportunities for skilled workers

High demand for skills, lots of job switching but employment growth slowing slightly

It is a bit of a mixed message at the moment as we are seeing massive demand for candidates in Central Queensland, across most industry sectors and at all levels.  This picture is also reflected nationally and internationally.  The number of Central Queensland advertised vacancies for February was up compared to the previous month. Whereas Central Queensland employment growth (the overall increase in number of jobs) is -1.1% which is the lowest in the last decade, only equalled for one previous month during that period, January 2017. 

It's always interesting and important to recognise the wide variety of industry dominance in our region.  For example the largest industry of employment across Central Queensland as a whole is Healthcare & Social Assistance.  However in Gladstone, Manufacturing, Construction and Retail are the three largest sectors by number of jobs.  In Rockhampton, Healthcare & Social Assistance is the largest sector, followed by Construction and then Education & Training (sources: Remplan and Economy ID).

What are we searching for?

The most searched-for job opportunities from job seekers on the website in February were: Administration, Boilermaker, Nurse, Engineer and Apprenticeship.  The jobs which received the highest number of views for February were hospitality roles, retail positions, administration and trades & services positions.

How does Central Queensland compare to the rest of the country?

The latest Central Queensland unemployment rate is 5.2%, a slight increase from the low of 5.0% in Nov 2021.  With the national unemployment rate now sitting at 4.0% (>23% lower than CQ). 

Queensland’s State Unemployment rate is 4.3% (the second highest State rate in Australia except SA). total vacancies for February were 2.2% up on January 2022, which is slightly higher than the QLD State increase in vacancies of 1.5% (3.6% nationally) according to National Skills Commission Vacancy Report - Feb 2022.

It's also worth noting that a recent study published in October 2021 by Queensland Council of Unions and the ACTU, claims that Central Queensland leads the country in insecure jobs.  Nearly 4 in 10 workers (38.7%) are in casual work.  Insecure work is incredibly prevalent in Central Queensland driven by the region being host to industries that have large groups of casual workers, such as agriculture, healthcare, and retail.

This is food for thought for businesses, if they are able to find innovative ways to offer more consistent and stable work, this could be a key to solving such significant labour shortage problems. 

Current labour problems are broadly expected by the Australian Chamber of Commerce to translate to lower profit margins.

Cost of living v Wages

Due to the tight labour market, wages are going up but for many, not keeping up with the cost of living (inflation). 

In recent weeks we have seen a significant increase in the cost of fuel and price increases are also being seen across many food items and consumer staples. 

It is widely expected that interest rates will rise later this year, which will see some homeowners facing added financial stress. 

So what’s the good news?

The good news is that Central Queensland offers a very attractive lifestyle, still with a relatively low cost of living compared to the cities and many other regions.  Now that border restrictions have relaxed, we are already seeing a greater degree of workforce mobility, interstate and internationally.  Migration will ultimately ease the skills shortage but it may take 2 years to get back to pre-pandemic levels.

With the labour shortages being felt in CQ at the moment, if you are a skilled worker looking to make a change, you are likely to have quite a few options in the CQ jobs market at the moment.

Our tip though would not be to just move jobs based on the financial incentives, these are soon forgotten and absorbed with cost of living changes once you start in a new role.  Instead look at the opportunities that may be available in your current work situation, or the other aspects of employment that will make your situation more rewarding and enjoyable, such as a new challenge, flexibility, or learning something new. 

Looking Ahead

As we move forward and experience uncertain times globally, external factors that affect the cost of living, fuel prices and consumer spending will likely impact figures in job posting and applications. It will be interesting to see how personal and financial situations will fuel the candidate market over the coming weeks and how they prepare for the future, whether that’s looking at wages increases, different benefits, or job stability.

There are more changes on the way that businesses and employees alike need to prepare for. The cost of employment could see an increase, with an increase to 10.5% for Superannuation Guarantee contributions coming from 1 July 2022 and 0.5% increases each financial year until it reaches 12% on 1st July 2025.  Also minimum wage and many award rates will increase on or after 1st July.

Opportunities in Renewable Energy

The Connecting Renewable Energy Conference Queensland is being held online via live streaming, on 7th April, which aims to stimulate procurement, business development, and solution based opportunities.  It will bring together the resource and construction sector to explore the latest challenges, developments, and supply chain procurement and business opportunities.

Featuring 15+ approved and proposed major solar, wind, battery, hydro-electric, and hydrogen projects across Queensland, the Connecting Renewable Energy Conference is designed as an event for obtaining the most current in-depth information, project updates and supplier opportunities, delivered directly from CEO’s, project managers, and procurement professionals.

Click this link for more information and to register and get your ticket to opportunity

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