News & Insights | Australia’s blue collar employment landscape in 2018

Australia’s blue collar employment landscape in 2018

31 July 2018

The 2018 Australian Jobs report released earlier this year, painted a positive picture of the employment landscape in Australia. Our current population is sitting at a staggering 24.8M and of that, almost half is employed. The report said that employment had increased by 403,000 (or 3 per cent), more than double the decade annual average rate of 1.6 per cent.

The requirements of many different industries across our employment landscape continue to ebb and flow with the changing priorities of the population. This is especially true of key blue collar industries, like manufacturing and construction.

While manufacturing has had a more turbulent couple of years in comparison to construction, both are creating unique opportunities for job seekers.

Once a booming industry in Australia, manufacturing has seen the sharpest decline in employment, dropping from a 15% share of total employment to 7.1 per cent in thirty years. It’s an industry that has faced many challenges including the GFC and subsequent competition from overseas manufacturers with lower production costs.

The good news is that there are signs now that the manufacturing industry is starting to stabilise and while employment has declined, a 7.1 per cent (amounting to 885,800 employed individuals) share of total employment is not a number to be overlooked. A recent report, Manufacturing: A Moment of Opportunity published by the Australia Institute, summed this up well:

‘Accounting for close to 1 million jobs, $100 billion per year in value-added, and $100 billion per year in exports, the industry’s contribution to the national economy should not be taken for granted.’

The report goes on to highlight that jobs swelled by 40,000 during 2016-17, which was the second-largest increase in jobs recorded in that period for the Australian economy and was surpassed only by public sector jobs growth.

This skills shortage is one of the top three challenges for the industry in 2018 reported by manufacturing CEOs in a survey undertaken by the Australian Industry Group.  

At Programmed, we’re proud of the role we play in helping Australia and New Zealand industry maintain and improve productivity. Working together with our customers, we’re all helping to create a sustainable future. Nic Fairbank, CEO Programmed Skilled Workforce

As our population grows so do our construction projects, so it’s no wonder that the construction industry is one that has seen mammoth growth with 188,800 jobs created in the past year. It is one of the five largest employing industries in Australia, alongside healthcare and social assistance, retail trade, construction and professional, scientific and technical services.

The industry kicked off a strong 2018 with activity levels across the sector continually improving, albeit slowly, since the start of the year. The Australian Industry Group’s Performance of Construction Index (PCI) for June 2018 registered at 50.6 points (index readings above 50 points indicate activity is expanding, below 50 indicates that it is contracting). While this is the lowest reading that the Ai Group has reported for 17 months, there is still good signs of growth in each of the key subsectors, especially in commercial and engineering construction.

The Australian Jobs report also goes on to say that there will continue to be growth in the sector, predicting to grow by 10.9 per cent over the next five years.

According to The Australian Government of Jobs and Small Business the top three hiring occupations in construction are:

  1. Carpenters
  2. Electricians
  3. Plumbers.

And we’re seeing that trend reflected through our customers too. We’re constantly on the hunt for qualified carpenters and electricians, and often recruiting for apprentices and trainees to place across our range of construction clients.

The Government are reporting record jobs growth and a recovery in non‒mining business investment, which means growth in other sectors. Recent figures report an average of 1,000 new jobs being created each day in Australia.

As Australia’s leading staffing and maintenance organisation we’re proudly providing staffing, professional, technical, training and maintenance services across Australia and New Zealand with more than 20,000 employees supporting industry every day.

Are you ready for your next career opportunity? Browse jobs here 

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