JOB VACANCIES UP – BUT MORE TO COME

Written on the 30 March 2011

JOB VACANCIES UP – BUT MORE TO COME

ABS statistics released today show the total recruitment market is 20 per cent healthier compared to February 2010, but one of Queensland’s top recruiters expects the number to rise dramatically.

The figures show 176,700 job vacancies in the private sector last month, an increase of 3.6 per cent over November 2010 and 21.7 per cent since early last year.

Job vacancies in the public sector were also up 3.6 per cent to 18,300, an increase of 12.4 per cent from the corresponding 2010 period.

LSA Recruitment Group managing director Andrew Northcott, says confidence is returning to the labour market but predicts demand will spike drastically in the next 12 months.

“There is strong demand for labour being driven by increased activity in the resources and construction sectors,” he says.

“But when you look at the number of large project approvals that have happening in the last three to six months, these figures will only go up.

"Particularly with the billions of dollars of LNG and CSG projects that have approved, including the construction of offshore processing plants and large-scale infrastructure projects, the statistics in the near future will make these (ABS) numbers look very small.”

While the ABS figures reflect a return to confidence in the labour market, Northcott says the strong rise is largely bolstered by temporary and part-time positions.

“On a macro level there is significant growth occurring in the recruitment market, but a lot of employers are seeking temporary staff or filling positions on a part-time or casual basis,” he says.

“They might still be working up to 40 hours per week, but the current state of industrial relations has given employers a long list of terms and requirements on the business to bring on full-time staff. There is a bit of confidence out there, but we’ve still got a way to go.”

While strict IR laws are playing a part in limiting full-time positions, Northcott highlights the increased number of part-time and temporary positions is not being met with negativity or frustration from job seekers.

“A big part of the workforce wants that flexibility. It’s largely a Gen Y thing to a degree; pre-GFC Gen Y were notorious for wanting to move around,” he says.

“People do want that flexibility these days and it ranges from blue-collar workers right up to executive positions. We’re even seeing more executive managers take on project-based roles for six or 12 months for that reason.”


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