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2011 employment forecast

31 March 2011
by Allegra Consulting

Recent media headlines such as "Job surge smashes expectations" and "Australian job market booming" have given Australians good reason to believe, locally at least, that the worst of the Global Financial Crisis is behind us.

Although more resilient through the difficult 2008/2009 period than other first world economies such as the USA and most countries in Europe, Australia felt the shock waves. In September 2009, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recorded the highest rate of unemployment – at more than 6% – for seven years.

In the recruitment sector, this was reflected in a candidate-rich market where there were fewer roles and an increased number of job-seekers vying for positions. Since 2009, the unemployment rate has slowly decreased. At the beginning of this year, economists were declaring that the job market was in full recovery mode with a 19% rise in advertised jobs from January to February alone. This represented the biggest increase in the number of advertised roles in one month since 1999!

Soon after, the same economists became bullish and predicted that by the end of 2010, the unemployment rate would drop to 4.75%. The most recent ABS figures, however, have recorded Australia’s unemployment rate in October at 5.4% – still a very positive status.

But what does this all mean? There are two key indicators used to measure the status of the employment market: the unemployment rate (as measured by the ABS) and the number of jobs advertised. According to the ANZ Job Advertisement Series, job ads across Australia are up 32% over the year. Recent data released by online job advertisers Seek.com claims that candidate demand has increased 40% year on year. Some of this can be attributed to the strong demand for jobs in mining areas such as Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia where unemployment rates have dropped as low as 2.99%. In Victoria, the unemployment rate is second highest only to NSW.

Overall, this is extremely positive and the flow-on effects from strong labour force figures are being reflected in other key economic indicators such as interest rates and the value of the Australian dollar.

Forecasts from Westpac economists say the “job rich” economy is likely to continue well in to 2011 with a predicted drop in the unemployment rate to 4.8%. The Treasury department is predicting a drop to 4.35%. Whether we see our rates drop to below 5% in 2011 is really a question for the crystal ball, but certainly our industry can look forward to a positive year ahead.

At Allegra Consulting, we have seen a significant increase in demand for change management expertise across a range of industries including finance, health, utilities and government.  We are busy placing permanent, part time and contract-based candidates in a number of key positions to lead and support large organisational change as well as smaller, tactical projects.

Similarly, we are seeing a growing demand for project management skills and have been building a strong base of candidates for these roles.

The end of the year is always a good time to review current workforce requirements and begin planning for the year ahead. Allegra Consulting is happy to assist both clients and candidates with strategic planning and creating a road map for 2011 and beyond.

We are very excited about the coming year and the stellar outlook for the change management sector. We look forward to continuing to provide all our clients and candidates with the highest levels of customer care and service.

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