Robert Half responds to ABS job slump figures.

Jobs fall.

With the Australian Bureau of Statistics registering a slump in jobs in October, Andrew Morris, Director of Robert Half Australia, has commented on what he sees as a ‘two-speed’ job market. According to the official statistics, jobs declined by 19,000 during the month with unemployment rising to 5.3 per cent.

“While unemployment has grown across the board, Australia currently faces a two-speed job market, where roles requiring specialised professionals in the fields of finance, accounting, and IT will continue to be in demand despite general uncertainty facing the economy and jobs market,” says Morris. “The rapid evolution of many industries through increased digitisation implies skills for finance and technology professionals have changed dramatically, highlighting the steady demand for these new skills. While there might be no shortage of candidates, there is most certainly a shortage of the talent required to tackle disruptive market forces, such as digitisation and ongoing regulatory reforms. This can mean that while there is a higher supply of jobseekers in the market, the technically skilled talent businesses need to meet their goals is not always available, also highlighting the importance of upskilling.”

According to Morris, companies do recognise they need to find ways to grow their business, but they also need to prepare for possible new markets and industry developments, particularly in light of an increasingly stringent regulatory environment. Therefore professionals who provide commercial value, whether through managing finance, identifying risk, improving efficiencies or contributing to business strategy will see an increase in demand in the coming year.

“A stagnant economy,” adds Morris, “can also result in companies increasingly turning to temporary employees to meet their staffing needs, as we can see in the decline in the creation of full time jobs, in order to offset the commitment and resource intensive requirements of a long-term workforce. [This in turn will] create a flexible workforce that can adapt to macroeconomic forces in an agile manner whilst also onboarding new talent to the organisation who have the option to turn permanent if context allows.”

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