It’s a candidate’s market in 2022

We saw it early last year, but the job market continued to bounce back throughout the rest of 2021 and into 2022 after taking a hit during the first year of the pandemic.

Compared to February 2019, the number of job ads rose by 41% in February 2022 according to SEEK research. Add to this that job applications are at very low levels compared to historical data. As such, there’s an increased demand for workers, forcing companies to offer more enticing salaries, packages and benefits to get the best employees to fill vacancies.

Some of the key sectors in demand by job ad volume, increase year on year, include admin and office support, education and training, retail and consumer products and manufacturing, training and logistics.

In March 2022, SEEK reported that applications per job ad had fallen by 7.6% from the previous month. Versus three years earlier, applications per ad were down 47%. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are an extra 170,000 job vacancies since the borders closed. At the same time, unemployment is the equal lowest since 2008 at 4%, which is contributing to rising salaries in advertised positions.

While wages are forecast to increase by around three per cent over the next year, unfortunately, inflation is set to rise by more than that amount. At an annual rate of 5.1% in Australia, the highest in two decades, the surging inflation rate will be one of the biggest challenges for workers managing their personal budgets moving forwards.

Interestingly, 40% of candidates say that salary and compensation are now more important than they were pre-COVID. Not getting paid enough is the main trigger for candidates looking for a new job. Those on the lookout seek 10-20% extra in their pay packet before accepting a new role. Highlighting that changing jobs is the most straightforward way to keep ahead of the rising costs of inflation.

However, it’s not simply remuneration alone that comes into play when choosing a place to work. When workers in a recent survey were asked if they’d refuse to work at a place with poor diversity, equity and inclusion, 67% said they agreed or strongly agreed. While 85% of respondents said they believed their current organisation hires a broad mix of people. Pleasingly 82% agreed that they feel included and belong in their organisation.

To find out what your role is worth and a full breakdown of salaries by industry and region, as well as insights and tips, download Programmed and PERSOLKELLY’s Economic and Employment Key Insights and Salary Guide for 2022-23.


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Programmed is a leading provider of operations and maintenance services across Australia and New Zealand. Our business model is built around our ability to recruit, deploy, manage and maintain a large, directly employed workforce of professional, skilled and semi-skilled staff with a wide range of capabilities. We are proud to efficiently serve more than 10,000 customers every day.

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