The Great Reshuffle of the Australian Labour Market

December 2, 2022 by Daniel Leadbeater

When the worst effects of the Black Death started to recede in Europe, those people left found a systems-level change taking place. Wages for workers increased, working conditions improved, and upward social mobility was unlocked.

The Post-Covid Australian Labour Market

While it took historians centuries to collect data, conduct analysis and propose interpretations, Lightcast job postings data enables a high-definition picture of employer demand in real-time, and the insights it gives us suggest some similar changes are currently affecting the Australian labour market. Post-Covid effects include: a rise in wages for workers; an increase in workplace flexibility; and a lowering of barriers as expressed in a decrease of experience and education requirements across a number of roles. It appears that history does indeed sometimes repeat!

The Great Reshuffle Australia Dashboard

To shed some light on these changes, and how Australian employers are reacting to the current tightness of labour supply, we have created a free dashboard - The Great Reshuffle - which draws on our database of millions of job postings to provide data-driven insights on the following:

  • The volume of employer job postings since 2015, which shows the huge dip in 2020, followed by a much larger increase in 2021 and 2022.

  • The upward trend in employer postings containing work benefits, such as flexible-working policies, sign-up bonuses, and other inducements for potential applicants.

  • A deep dive into four sectors where the constrained market and Covid disruptions have been most apparent: Sales, Hospitality, Nursing, and Construction.

What is clear in the analysis, across all metrics presented, is that employers are fiercely competing to attract talent in a tight market. Job postings are often seen as a "wish list" for employers, but that wish list must now include attracting applicates to the advertised role.

As Australia reaches full employment, potential employees have the ability to choose between offers and - as the dashboard shows - employers are responding. Through modern health practices, the world was able to respond to the challenge posed by Covid-19. What is left to see, however, is if history will repeat and a similar level of change in the labour market will occur after this pandemic.