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Providing information on the labour market

Australian Jobs 2019: a vital source of career information

As part of its support for job seekers, retrenched workers and people considering their training and employment options, the department released the 2019 edition of the annual Australian Jobs report. The report provides information about trends in the Australian labour market, industries and occupations (identifying those where new jobs have been created and those where there have been job losses) and regional labour markets.

The 2019 edition provides information on how employers recruit and the attributes they seek, data on education and training pathways, and discussion of the changing nature of the world of work. It also provides information to assist people at all stages of their working life, whether they are looking for their first job, returning to the workforce or transitioning between sectors.

Australian Jobs is a highly regarded publication. More than 100,000 copies are distributed to a wide range of users, including employment services providers, secondary schools, Centrelink, higher education and vocational education organisations, employment and careers intermediaries, and a range of other stakeholders.

Survey of Employers Who Have Recently Advertised

The department undertakes ongoing workforce research. To understand employers’ ability to recruit the workers they need, and to identify shortages in skilled occupations, in 2018–19 the department spoke with around 4,000 employers who had recently advertised, and analysed a wide range of labour market indicators.

The survey covers around 70 skilled occupations, primarily professions and trades. The results of this research are published on the department’s website, including reports on occupations at the state and territory and national levels, and overview reports that analyse trends in the skilled labour market.

Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences

As part of the ongoing Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences, the department interviewed some 14,000 employers across Australia in 2018–19. The survey is conducted continuously throughout the year to assess recruitment conditions, to identify how job seekers can better meet the needs of employers, and to help job seekers find pathways to employment.

The survey contains a core series of questions each year to monitor key labour market issues and trends. Topics include the difficulties employers face filling positions, the level of competition for vacancies, and employers’ methods of recruitment.

The department gathers further insights from employers on a wide range of policy areas of interest to the department and the broader community through additional ad hoc survey questions and follow-up qualitative research. In 2018–19, research topics included:

  • the causes and impacts of rising recruitment difficulty
  • the ways in which employers find and choose candidates for entry-level positions
  • employers’ experiences of and perceptions about hiring refugees
  • advice and information for job seekers with disability.

The survey data and analysis are accessed by a wide range of users, from business and industry groups to employment services providers, local and state governments, policymakers, young people, teachers and other education/training professionals, community groups, and job seekers from all walks of life.

Survey results are disseminated in a range of ways, including reports, infographics and presentations published on the Labour Market Information Portal (lmip.gov.au) and on the department’s website (jobs.gov.au/recruitment-conditions).

The department also delivered more than 60 tailored presentations and information sessions in 2018–19, attended by approximately 4,500 people across Australia. Presentations covered a wide range of topics, such as developments in the local labour market and local recruitment conditions. They also provided insights for job seekers, to help them identify pathways to employment, with a focus on post-school qualifications, work experience and employability skills. The sessions were run for diverse audiences, including workers facing retrenchment, job seekers at job fairs, students in secondary schools and in tertiary education, local and state governments, industry groups and jobactive providers. Information sessions were also conducted with school career advisors. Copies of the presentations and related information were widely distributed. An example from 2019 is described below in the case study ‘Education is essential, but not enough’.

Education is essential, but not enough

Photo of Ivan Neville presenting to South Australian teachers, vocational education and training coordinators and
Photo: Ivan Neville presenting to South Australian teachers, vocational education and training coordinators and

In March 2019, Ivan Neville, the head of the Labour Market Research and Analysis Branch, presented to more than 60 South Australian teachers, vocational education and training (VET) coordinators and career counsellors on local labour market conditions and employer needs. Presentations like this one are significant, given the importance of supporting young people to find meaningful employment.

Ivan told the career counsellors in attendance that, while education is essential for job seekers, on its own it is not enough to secure a job offer. Employers also require job seekers to have work experience and employability skills, such as communication and interpersonal skills.

As part of the presentation, Ivan shared insights from the Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences, such as the recruitment methods used by employers, personal skills in demand, and competition for vacancies. Other research from the Labour Market Research and Analysis Branch, such as its findings about skill shortages in trade occupations across South Australia, also featured in the presentation’s messaging.

This presentation had substantial reach and represents a significant contribution to the knowledge, expertise and professional development of this important group of people who help to shape young people and their futures.

Job Outlook

Job Outlook is the leading source of accessible and engaging careers information for people of all ages and stages of life. It helps job seekers think about pathways into and between jobs and to access resources to learn more about different careers.

Job Outlook (joboutlook.gov.au) provides detailed information including:

  • Job details — job descriptions, main tasks, titles, skill levels and specialisations
  • Labour market insights — employment trends, future growth projections and ‘skill in demand’ flags
  • Workforce characteristics — average earnings and hours, age, gender, location and educational attainment
  • Job requirements — skills, abilities, knowledge areas, activities, physical and social demands, values and work styles
  • Job pathways — links to training information and to vacancies on JobSearch.gov.au.

Job Outlook also offers a popular career quiz. The quiz is not a vocational assessment, but rather a tool to help users understand their work preferences and explore career options. Career advisors like the quiz because it provides an impetus for discussion.

The Skills Match feature on Job Outlook, launched in 2019, shows users the skills they are likely to have developed through the jobs they have done, and highlights the careers they may be able to transfer into. Skills Match fills an important role on Job Outlook in helping users understand transferable skills and the pathways into and between careers. This includes identifying potential skill gaps to help users understand where reskilling may be required to succeed in a career transition.

Usage of Job Outlook continues to grow strongly. In the 12 months to June 2019, it had reached a global audience of 1.8 million users.

Internet Vacancy Index

The monthly Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) is based on a count of online job advertisements newly lodged on SEEK, CareerOne and Australian JobSearch during the month. The IVI enables researchers to understand labour market demand across a number of different topics. Data is available for around 350 occupations by skill level and by state and territory, back to January 2006. Regional job advertisement counts are also available back to May 2010.

In trend terms, the IVI decreased by 6.7 per cent (or 12,300 job advertisements) over the year to June 2019. The IVI remains 11.5 per cent (or 17,500 job advertisements) higher than the level recorded five years ago.

Over the year to June 2019, job advertisements decreased in six of the eight broad occupational groups. The strongest declines were recorded for Machinery Operators and Drivers (down by 17.3 per cent), followed by Labourers (14.9 per cent) and Sales Workers (12.2 per cent). Increases in job advertisements were recorded only for Community and Personal Service Workers (up by 3.9 per cent) and Professionals (0.4 per cent).

Over the year to June 2019, job advertisements decreased in five states and the Northern Territory. New South Wales recorded the strongest decline (down by 10.8 per cent), followed by the Northern Territory (10.6 per cent) and Victoria (6.6 per cent). By contrast, job advertisements increased in Tasmania (up by 10.5 per cent) and the ACT (7.1 per cent).

Labour Market Information Portal

The LMIP (lmip.gov.au) brings together data from a number of different sources to help job seekers, employment services providers and researchers understand local labour markets.

Content on the LMIP is categorised into three distinct sections:

1. Explore the data

This section contains the bulk of information available on the LMIP. Users can explore two geographical classifications — SA4s5 and employment regions (regions jobactive providers are contracted to service) — using interactive mapping. Data available includes jobactive caseloads, Centrelink beneficiary data, employment by industry and occupation data, unemployment rates and population statistics.

2. Gain insights

Users can view a range of reports and publications produced by the department. Information available includes employment projections, the monthly internet vacancy report and state labour economics office reports.


This section offers data in Excel files, including SA4 and employment region data (as available under Explore the data), as well as Disability Employment Services data (provided by the Department of Social Services).

The LMIP reached an audience of 116,200 users in the 12 months to June 2019.

Labour market conditions

Labour market conditions were strong in the 2018–19 financial year, with the level of employment increasing by 296,300 (or 2.4 per cent) to stand at a record high of 12,871,700 in June 2019, above the annual average growth rate of 1.8 per cent over the last decade.

Full-time employment rose by 246,500 (or 2.9 per cent) in 2018–19 to a record high of 8,815,600 in June 2019, while part-time employment increased by 49,800 (or 1.2 per cent) to stand at 4,056,100.

Against the backdrop of strong employment growth, the unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage points over the period, to 5.2 per cent in June 2019, while the participation rate rose by 0.3 percentage points to an equal record high of 66.0 per cent.

The level of underemployment declined by 28,300 (or 2.5 per cent) over the 2018–19 financial year, to 1,112,300 in June 2019. While the underemployment rate decreased — by 0.4 percentage points over the year, to 8.2 per cent in June 2019 — it is well above the 6.0 per cent recorded at the onset of the Global Financial Crisis in September 2008, indicating that some spare capacity remains evident in the labour market.

The level of youth employment rose by 4,600 (or 0.2 per cent) in 2018–19, while the youth unemployment rate increased by 0.8 percentage points over the period, to 12.0 per cent.