February job growth strong across the board

The latest data from SEEK has shown an increase in new job ads of 16.2 per cent compared to this time last year, driven largely by mining, agriculture and engineering. February also saw a 2 per cent increase in job ads month on month as businesses begin to ramp up planned hiring activity in the new year. 

The strongest performing industries were Mining, Resources & Energy (45% YoY growth), Farming, Animal & Conservation (32% YoY growth), Information & Communication Technology (26% YoY growth), Engineering and Trades & Services (both at 25% YoY growth). 

Kendra Banks, Managing Director SEEK ANZ, points to a number of key drivers, including unprecedented levels of government investment in infrastructure and noted that across Australia this is the ninth consecutive month of year on year double digit growth in SEEK new job ads. 

A recent ABS report shows that the value of work yet to be done in the pipeline of public sector infrastructure projects is at a record high, and this is likely driving the increase in jobs in both Engineering (25% YoY) and Trades and Services (25% YoY).  

“There are a number of key infrastructure projects underway across Australia, including the Perth-to-Forrestfield Airport Rail Link. We are seeing particularly strong demand for engineering skills in Western Australia, and job ads in this sector have increased 63% this month. Job growth in this sector is expected to continue.”
Farming, Animal & Conservation has also been a key area of job growth in February, with job ads up 32% compared to this time last year. While actual job numbers are still relatively low (a few hundred), this increase is significant for an industry facing a number of challenges.  

“The increase in job ads across Victoria (40%), NSW (50%) and WA (54%) reflects solid growth in some sectors including sheep and wool, grain and cattle. Australian farmers are getting older, with the latest survey data from the ABS finding the average farmer is 56-years-old. As such it is not surprising that certain jobs are increasingly being outsourced due to both an aging workforce, and to improve efficiency.”

Once again, the only sector that saw a decrease in job ads this month was Advertising, Arts & Media with a drop of 7% YoY. 

Figure 1. Job ad growth across industries February 2018 compared to February 2017


All states and territories experienced positive monthly job ad growth in February, except the Northern Territory (-5.8 per cent) and South Australia (-2.9 per cent). All states and territories are still seeing growth in terms of annual trends. ACT experienced the strongest growth month on month with a 7 per cent increase in February driven by Government hiring kicking back into gear. This follows an 8.2 per cent drop in January over the summer break. 

Figure 2. SEEK job ad growth by state and territories and top performing industries in February 2018 compared to 12 months ago


With the Gold Coast preparing to host the Commonwealth Games in just a few weeks, the Sport and Recreation sector is shaping up across the country, particularly in certain categories like coaching and instruction.

While a small mover in comparison to other industries, job ads for Sport & Recreation staff grew in February, with an overall 2% YoY increase across Australia. Growth in this sector has picked up largely thanks to Coaching & Instruction (which is up 20% YoY in the period between December and February), Management (12%) and Fitness & Personal Training (4%). 

According to research from CommBank, Australians are set to spend more than $4.7 billion on health and fitness products to achieve their goals this year. Of this $4.7 billion spend, Australians spend $712 million a month on health and fitness activities, perhaps fueling the demand for coach and instructor roles.  

Figure 3. Sport & Recreation Job Ads by type - YoY Growth comparing Dec 2017 - Feb 2018 vs Dec 2016 to Feb 2017

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About the SEEK Employment Report

The SEEK Employment Report provides a comprehensive overview of the Australian Employment Marketplace. The report includes the SEEK Employment Index (SEI), which is the first Australia aggregate indicator to measure the interaction between labour market supply and labour market demand.

It also includes the SEEK New Job Ad Index which measures only new job ads posted within the reported month to provide a clean measure of demand for labour across all classifications.

SEEK’s total job ad volume (not disclosed in this report) includes duplicated job advertisements and refreshed job ads. As a result, the SEEK New Job Ad Index does not always match the movement in SEEK’s total job ad volume.

Disclaimer: The Data should be viewed and regarded as standalone information and should not be aggregated with any other information whether such information has been previously provided by SEEK Limited, ("SEEK"). The Data is given in summary form and whilst care has been taken in its preparation, SEEK makes no representations whatsoever about its completeness or accuracy. SEEK expressly bears no responsibility or liability for any reliance placed by you on the Data, or from the use of the Data by you. If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately.

About SEEK

SEEK is a diverse group of companies, comprised of a strong portfolio of online employment, educational, commercial and volunteer businesses. SEEK operates across 18 countries with exposure to over 4 billion people and 28 per cent of GDP. SEEK makes a positive contribution to people’s lives on a global scale. SEEK is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, where it is a top 50 company with a market capitalisation close to A$6billion and has been listed in the Top 20 Most Innovative Companies Globally by Forbes, and Number One in Australia.