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Catherine Birch, analyst at ANZ, suggests that as indicators of the state of the labour market, the ANZ Job Ads and the ABS Job Vacancies series tend to be correlated, but over the three quarters to February 2019, job ads fell, despite vacancies rising and the unemployment rate falling, breaking with the historic relationship for the Australian economy.

Key Quotes

Changes in market share in online recruitment. Both ANZ Job Ads and the IVI use SEEK and Australian JobSearch to measure online ads and the IVI also uses CareerOne. According to a 2018 report from IBISWorld, SEEK accounts for more than 85% of online recruitment industry revenue in Australia. However, Indeed, the largest job search engine globally, which aggregates ads from various online and offline sources, has expanded its presence in Australia and a future launch of Google for Jobs in Australia could also impact the market.”

Other recruitment methods. According to the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, employers using word of mouth and/or directly approaching applicants jumped, as a share of vacancies, by 6ppt to 32% in 2017-18. However, the Department advises not to rely on year-to-year changes. Time will tell whether this turns into a trend. It is possible that changes in the degree of internal recruitment and upskilling might be affecting the data, but this is difficult to ascertain.”

Skilled migration. When employers find it hard to recruit domestically, they turn to skilled migration. However, at a high level, employer demand for skilled migrant workers appears to have weakened recently. There were fewer first stage applications (as an indicator of employer demand) received in the employer sponsored category for skilled visas in 2017-18 compared with 2016-17. It is possible that this could mask differences by industry/occupation/region or challenges caused by changes in listed occupations, visa conditions and application processing times, rather than reflecting a change in employer demand for skilled migrant workers.”