Alison May – Talent Consultant, Global Supply Chain and Logistics

The way we work has remained largely unchanged in the past 10 years, with permanent employment remaining the most popular form of work. Between 2001 and 2011, the type of work in which individuals were employed – such as full time or contract – rarely shifted. Overall employment figures have increase, however out of all the forms of work on offer, permanent roles are the most common.

Historically speaking, the 1980s saw a boom in casual employment, and the 1990s experienced a surge in labour-hire engagement, but these trends did not carry through the 2000s. Although, the number of casual employees has increased since then, the intensive recruitment for casual roles has not mirrored the demand of the past, and self-employment decreased in the early 2000s.

So what does the Australian job market look like now?

  • In 2011, permanent employees, both full and part time, comprised 60 per cent of the talent pool.
  • 39 per cent of the workforce comprised casual and labour-hire staff.
  • The remaining one per cent of workers is believed to have held short-term contracts.

From 2001 to 2011, the number of permanent roles increased by around three per cent, with the largest growth spurt occurring after 2004. There are a number of reasons why this may have taken place, including:

  • A heightened recruitment drive in the mining industry across Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
  • An increase in the number of vacancies that require highly skilled and/or professional workers.

These slight shifts in the employment landscape suggest that a differing emphasis has been placed on business demands. Largely, organisations that have stable, predictable workloads have been favoured, as opposed to businesses where the utilisations of casual and/or temporary staff indicate peaks and troughs.

Returning to mining examples, an increase in permanent roles can reduce the costs associated with employee attrition and can point to the strength of future business performance.