The question on everyone’s lips is will the party continue in 2023? Despite the damper that higher inflation and interest rates put on disposable incomes in 2022, Australia’s holiday hotspots achieved 90 percent plus occupancy rates at post-Covid high prices. Additionally, the traditional Boxing Day sales are predicted by various local media sources to exceed a record $23 billion, or around $900 per person.
A major contributor to Australia’s continuing economic growth is that consumers keep spending. This is made possible by record low rates of unemployment that have created critical worker shortages. In the professional services sector employees shifting jobs for higher rates of pay has outpaced the growth in new jobs. If this trend continues, the options for workers to negotiate higher wages will lessen.
The importance of the highly paid professional sector is that their spending on discretionary consumer goods and services creates secondary demand for workers in hospitality, retail, and supporting industries. In what some might think an ominous sign of what will happen in Australia, there are many and publicised layoffs occurring in the professional sector in the U.S. Will it happen here?
“The layoffs occurring in the U.S. now are largely confined to big tech, where investment in new software development is nearing the end of its economic lifecycle,” according to Michael Hargreaves the founder of website Workers to Hire, www.workerstohire.com.au, and author of this article. “Australia does not have the depth of high-tech innovation that America does, and we economically benefit from its distribution and adoption.”
Australia should be insulated from large scale layoffs because its industries principally improve their competitive advantages by deploying cost saving technologies developed elsewhere. This view fits in with OECD predictions that, whilst economic growth will halve to 1.9 percent, Australians should not expect the country to go into recession.
“What we should expect,” says Michael Hargreaves, “is business as usual, albeit at a reduced rate that does not feed inflation and the need for compounding interest rate rises.” “The economy’s need for workers, remain unmet whilst Australia avoids recession.” So, who is going to fill jobs in agriculture, hospitality, light manufacturing, retail, and retail?
Two trends have emerged as a post-Covid consequence of increased living costs. One is the return of recent retirees seeking non-career roles. The other is the record number and growth of working Australians in second jobs. These are two of the prime demographics to which the recent launch of the Workers to Hire website is expected to cater. The other demographics are more traditional and include students and parents returning to work.
On workerstohire.com.au, people looking for work post a free profile of themselves, their work intentions, experience, and skills. In what is perceived as huge cost saving to small and medium size businesses looking to employ workers in continuing roles, employers pay a fraction of the cost of traditional job advertisements. Employers are also able to shortlist candidates before spending money on advertising that might not get replies.