Healthcare and education worker shortages slow the fall of job ads

Overworked teachers are leaving the industry in droves, leading to a markedly low decline in job ads.

Overworked teachers are leaving the industry in droves, leading to a markedly low decline in job ads. Photo: Getty

Job ads are falling from record highs, but certain industries are far less affected than others.

Data from online employment marketplace Seek shows the number of job ads on the platform fell 22 per cent in May compared to the same time last year.

The sectors with the biggest job ad falls on Seek included hospitality and tourism; retail and consumer products, and information and communication technology.

Seek senior economist Matt Cowgill said industries like hospitality and tourism, and retail and consumer products tend to be very cyclical and sensitive to economic conditions.

“[Hospitality and tourism and retail and consumer products] tend to do best when things are booming [and] they tend to be hit hardest when the economy turns down,” he said.

“So with interest rates rising, economic growth slowing, you would expect those to be the ones that slow down the most.”

However, education and training and healthcare and medical industries were the only ones to see annual job ad declines on Seek of less than 10 per cent.

These industries are already seeing shortages, exacerbating employee workloads, which by extension is leading to more resignations.

In February, the Black Dog Institute found almost half of Australia’s teachers are considering leaving the profession within the year, with unmanageable workloads, teacher shortages and being forced to take on classes outside their expertise among the top gripes.

When it comes to the healthcare and medical industry, in 2022, the Committee for Economic Development Australia estimated a shortfall of aged-care workers soared up to 35,000 – with 65,000 carers set to leave the industry the same year.

In March, registered nurses ranked No.1 among the country’s most sought-after workers, Jobs and Skills Australia data found.

“Some industries are less cyclical than others, so less sensitive to changes in economic conditions, and health care is top of that table,” Mr Cowgill said.

“The industry with the smallest decline in job ads over the past year is education and training, and again, similar story to health care, it’s less affected by the booms and busts of the economic cycle.”

Unemployment expected to rise

Job ad numbers are declining overall, but they’re still 21.7 per cent higher than pre-COVID May 2019, meaning Australia is still in a high-demand jobs market.

However, the jobs market is loosening, with applications per job ad on par with pre-COVID levels.

Mr Cowgill said this is not a surprise given the Reserve Bank of Australia’s actions to counter inflation are expected to drive up the rate of unemployment.

“The job advertisements data tends to lead the market. We tend to see a fall in job ads before we start to see something like the unemployment rate start to turn,” he said.

“We’ve had a lot of interest rate rises [and] part of the way the interest rate rises work is to slow economic activity and employment, and it is having an effect.”

But he said it’s also important to note that May 2022 saw an “all-time peak” for job ads, so the year-on-year comparison is hard to justify in an unusually tight labour market.

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