If you’re looking for a job in the new year, it pays to be a highly-skilled professional – not least because the housing construction boom could be cooling.
Hays, a global recruitment firm, released its latest quarterly skills report on Monday, and it makes sombre reading for anyone without higher qualifications.
Most of the jobs on the list are ‘knowledge’ jobs, which means they require lots of training, often at the university level.
Expertise in finance, data analysis, architecture, property law and other professional services will be in high demand in the first three months of 2017 and probably beyond, the report found.
But there is some good news for those who may have gained their skills ‘on the job’, rather than in a classroom.
Expertise in renewable energy, production management, disability case load management, payroll, managing a store or managing a residential property will also be in high demand, the Hays report said. Trade-qualified carpenters will also be sought after.
Unfortunately, even for those who have the skills, competition is tight. Potential employees probably need to go “above and beyond” the job description, according to Hays – a sure sign the jobs market remains tough.
“In compiling our list of skills in demand, one common trend was employers’ requests for candidates who can add extra value,” said Hays spokesman Nick Deligiannis, managing director for Australia and New Zealand.
“That could be through previous experience in a related discipline, prior process improvements or efficiency gains, additional tickets or qualifications or advanced digital or systems skills, all of which allow a candidate to perform supplementary duties. Any candidate who offers additional value stands out.”
Fears that building boom is over
One big proviso is that many of the jobs on the Hays ‘hot’ list are directly or indirectly linked to the property market (including property managers and building managers), which is yet more proof that any slowdown in Australia’s building boom will likely have dire consequences for the labour market.
In fact, some experts fear a downturn is already underway.
Australia’s statistics bureau reported on Monday that total building approvals increased by a seasonally adjusted 7 per cent in November, driven by a rise in apartments and units.
But if you look at approvals between November 2015 and November 2016, and compare them to the previous 12-month period, total approvals actually fell 4.8 per cent.
Over that time, the construction of houses fell 2.9 per cent, and non-houses dwellings 8.9 per cent.
Many experts fear that slowed construction will spill over into other sectors, and perhaps blow any chance of an improved unemployment rate.
IFM Investors chief economist Dr Alex Joiner told The New Daily last year the federal government should be investing in infrastructure to prevent these spillover effects.
‘Unemployment should improve’
Despite these challenges, several analysts, including one at the ANZ bank, are hopeful the unemployment rate will gradually improve in 2017.
On Monday, ANZ reported that job advertisements (a popular measure used as a proxy for the strength of the labour market) fell by 1.9 per cent, seasonally adjusted, in December. This was the first fall since July 2016.
The data series measures job ads in major daily newspapers and internet sites in the capital cities.
The bank’s senior economist, Jo Masters, said while this result was “disappointing”, it did not change her expectation that the unemployment rate would improve in coming months.
“While the labour market has clearly lost some momentum, business and consumer confidence remain elevated, capacity utilisation appears to be on the rise, and retail sales have strengthened recently. As such, we continue to expect conditions in the labour market to support an ongoing, albeit gradual, decline in the unemployment rate this year.”
In November, the official unemployment rate unexpectedly rose from 5.6 to 5.7 per cent in November; total hours worked decreased by 10.4 million to 1.663 billion hours; and youth underutilisation rose to a near all-time high.
Jobs in demand in 2017: Hays
Financial and commercial analysts
Professional practice accountants
Paraplanners and financial planners
Quantitative risk analysts/modellers, particularly in credit risk
Contracts administrators, site managers and project managers
Early childhood teachers
Renewable energy experience
Civil and structural engineers
Residential building managers
Senior HR advisors and HR business partners
Senior claims consultants and claims assessors
Mid to senior level construction and property lawyers
Supply chain/inventory managers
Clinical research associates
Skilled sales administrators
Residential property managers