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Media Release


Employment numbers masking tight market

There are clear signals the current employment market is a ‘candidate’s market’ despite the latest ABS workforce numbers being down in the Hunter Region, according to the region's peak business organisation Business Hunter.

“It is surprising to see the participation rate in the workforce remains well down on the June 2019 figures, based on the June 2021 Regional Labour force statistics released on 22 July when you consider the state of the current job market” according to Business Hunter CEO, Bob Hawes.

“We are witnessing a continuing trend of record high job vacancy ads across the region based on the Internet vacancy index of June 2021, despite a slight drop in the index from May,” Mr Hawes added.

“The Internet vacancy index does not account for many other ways positions are advertised by employers. Research shows that around 20% of vacancies are not advertised. Employers often use informal networks in selecting job seekers. They respond to a direct approach or advertise internally, meaning the roles are not made public.

“Businesses and recruitment consultants are experiencing considerable frustration in finding and placing people in roles at the present time. The relatively low participation rate won’t be helping things as it is an indicator of people choosing to sit on the sidelines or leave the workforce, either for the time being or permanently,” Mr Hawes said.

“We understand the shortage is particularly acute for roles in the $70,000 and below salary range, which includes many entry level roles.

“In March 2021, the online service Seek recorded both their highest ever jobs posted and their lowest candidate activity in a decade. This confirms what we are hearing from local businesses - they are advertising jobs and getting little and, in some cases, no response.

“The recruiters are telling us employers need to change things up a little to appeal in the current market. They need to act quickly, review the scope of rolls to make them appealing, use informal networks and most importantly, work on retention by continually checking in with their team.

“It appears candidates are hard to catch, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to coax a candidate from non-participation or an existing role based on COVID circumstances and uncertainty. This is understandable in the circumstances and means they will sit tight and wait for the job they want.”


Bob Hawes
P: 02 9466 4665
M: 0418 496 745


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