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What does the future of the WA jobs market look like?
With much of its employment and economy dependent on resources like iron ore and coal, Western Australia has historically been caught in a boom and bust cycle, causing instability across the jobs market. In recent years, the state economy has struggled as a result of the latest fading mining boom, with CommSec’s State of the States report showing WA had the lowest performing economy in Australia in October last year. However, in a positive sign for the state economy, ABS data showed the WA jobless rate fell to 5.9% in April this year, the first time it’s been below 6% since June 2016. With cost cutting and consolidation in the mining industry improving market conditions and investment being made in other industries, Western Australia’s outlook is positive for the first time in years.
Here’s what we can expect from the WA jobs market.
Mining will recover
After five years of falling commodity prices, the mining economy has finally started to improve again, with profits up 113% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2017, and mineral exploration up 15% year-on-year. This is a positive sign for the mining industry and for the Australian economy as a whole. Alongside increased spending on maintenance and repair of existing projects, the uptick in exploration is projected to stabilise mining investment and job opportunities in coming quarters.
The construction industry will create jobs
Workers in the construction sector can look forward to increased job opportunities thanks to a recent $2.3 billion roads and rail deal struck by the Federal and State Governments, which is set to see 6000 jobs created over the next two years. Projects to be funded out of the deal include the Perth Freight Link, the Thornlie-Cockburn link, an extension of the Joondalup line to Yanchep, as well as components of the Roe 8 roads construction project – meaning the hub of construction employment opportunities will be in areas surrounding Perth.
IT and technology sectors are set to grow
With more start-up businesses in WA than ever before, the opportunity for growth in the IT and technology sectors is promising. Workers with specialist skills in these fields are likely to be high in demand over the coming years as start-up businesses grow and increase headcount. IT and technology professionals should start planning for upcoming jobs growth by taking the opportunity to upskill wherever possible to ensure they’re ready to meet the needs of new, agile and rapidly evolving businesses.
Cost-saving and contracting are the way forward
Western Australian businesses are now heavily focused on cost savings, improvements, optimisation and lean business processes. Any candidate who can add value to a business through cost-saving innovation will be valued in the WA jobs market moving forward. Similarly, contracting is an increasingly attractive option for employers, as it cuts down on overheads, paperwork, and saves time in the recruitment process. 75% of all Michael Page placements in 2017 have been contract roles, and this number is projected to increase over the coming year.
Work culture will be key
Employers wanting to attract top talent should be looking at ways to optimise their work culture as workers increasingly seek out flexible and nurturing work environments. Initiatives around flexible working hours, the ability to work from home, wellness programs, giving back, bonus incentives and out-of-work activities should be considered to keep up with the growing demand for progressive workplaces.
Want to secure top talent for your business in Western Australia? Talk to one of our WA recruitment specialists today.
After a prolonged downward trend, the WA jobs market is finally showing promise:
- The increase in mining exploration and investment in existing projects has seen a significant rise in the industry’s profitability
- A landmark $2.3 billion construction deal is set to create 6000 construction jobs over the next 2 years
- There are more start-ups in WA than ever before, bringing with them opportunities in the IT and tech industries
- Contracting will help businesses cut costs and give employees greater flexibility
- Flexible and innovative work culture is the way forward for WA businesses