Demand for Australian media and real estate workers is falling fast

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
  • Australian job advertisements placed on Seek rose by 10.7% in the year to May, driven by strong demand for mining, government, community services, engineering and trades workers.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, ads for real estate and media workers fell by 9% over the year.
  • Australia’s May jobs report will be released today. Employment is expected to increase by 19,000.

Australia has created 332,100 jobs over the past year, according to official data from the ABS.

Based on new data released by, strength in hiring looks set to continue for some time yet.

In the year to May, job advertisements placed on its platform rose by 10.7%, driven by strong demand for mining, government, community services, engineering and trades workers.

“The industry that recorded the largest positive growth in job ads this month was mining, resources and energy which saw a 34% increase in May when compared to this time last year,” said Kendra Banks, Australia and New Zealand Managing Director at SEEK.

“This was closely followed by government and defence where job ads were up 29%, and community services and development which recorded a 26% increase in job ads compared to twelve months ago.”

However, while double-digit gains were recorded across a majority of industries, the annual pace of growth has slowed in recent months, in line with the moderation seen in actual hiring levels.

Part of the slowdown reflects the high-base effect from a year earlier, but it has also been driven by weaker demand for workers in the financial and real estate sectors, mirroring the slowdown in Australia’s east coast housing market.

Demand for advertising and media staff has also weakened, albeit for different factors.

“The industries that saw a decrease in job ads compared to a year ago were real estate and property and advertising, arts and media which both saw job ads fall 9%,” Banks said.

“Both sectors have been struggling recently, with advertising, arts and media jobs falling in almost every month of 2018.”

Advertisements for retail staff also slipped over the year, driven by ongoing softness in spending at traditional bricks and mortar retailers.

“A lot of retail growth appears to be driven by online players, with online competition in the sector heating up,” she said.

“This could have an effect on the number of new jobs opportunities available on the shop floor with bricks and mortar retail struggling to find its footing in an increasingly digital world.”

This digital disruption likely explains the decline in ads seen in other industries over the past 12 months.

The data from Seek includes duplicate job advertisements and refreshed job ads, meaning it does not always match the movement in total job ad volumes over a given month.

Australia’s May jobs report will be released later today. In line with the moderation in job advertisements, economists expect a modest-yet-still-solid 19,000 increase in employment over the month.

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