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Plumbing the depths of Australia's online job market

Online jobs advertisements fell again to a new record low this past month, and IT is leading the drop.

It's been two months since I last discussed the internet vacancy numbers reported by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) — and, in that time, the falls have only continued.

In the past year to September 2012, the number of job advertisements posted online has fallen across all categories and all areas of the country. Even areas that currently house the mining boom have not escaped negative growth; as the chart below shows, there is nowhere to hide from falling internet job advertisement rates.


Negative growth across the nation
(Click to enlarge)
(Credit: DEEWR)

The largest fall in a job category was attributed to the Engineering, ICT and Science Technicians category, which is down a massive 35 per cent since September 2011. The other IT-related category, ICT Professionals, has fallen by 23.8 per cent in the same period. Both categories are now at record low levels since the report began in January 2006.

Overall, the skilled vacancy index has fallen to a new low, albeit by a margin of 0.1 lower than the previous record of 80.7, which was recorded in May 2009.


DEEWR Skilled Internet Vacancy Index for IT categories since January 2006.
(Click to enlarge)
(Credit: DEEWR)

Meanwhile, the Australian Computer Society has found that IT salaries have grown by 4 per cent over the period that vacancies have been dropping — and at the same time as talk about a skills shortage.

Is it possible to have a skills shortage and a vacancy shortage at the same time?

Peter Noblet, senior regional director of recruitment firm Hays, has an angle on it that may explain what we are experiencing in Australia: "Employers need to be aware that candidate shortages still exist in many areas. Many organisations have invested in retention strategies to keep their best people, so there's still a shortage of high-quality candidates for certain roles, particularly those that require excellent leadership skills or very specific experience."

If you are in IT and wish to move into an economic sector that is resisting the slide, then your choice is limited to the education sector. During September 2012, vacancies for education professionals increased by 1.5 per cent, but were still down 2.4 per cent over the year.

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Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

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