The latest Sunsuper Australian job index has revealed that the number of casual job opportunities rose by 19.5% over the September quarter, and that contingent jobs, as a percentage of total employment vacancies, is at a record high.

The Sunsuper Australian job index is the first and only Australian jobs report to split data between permanent and contingent (i.e. temporary, fixed term contract and casual) job vacancies.

Sunsuper’s Chief Economist Brian Parker said that although the Sunsuper Australian job index rose by nearly 15% in the September quarter, the Index still remains nearly 40% lower than the same period last year.

“Although we’ve seen a strong recovery in permanent job opportunities this quarter, rising 12.6%, the stronger recovery was actually in contingent or casual work, which rose nearly 20%,” said Mr Parker.

“Also, the ratio of contingent job advertisements as a percentage of total advertisements is now 33.2%, the highest in the history of the Sunsuper Australian job index, which highlights employers’ preference towards flexible staffing arrangements in uncertain times.

“There was enormous variation in the movement in job vacancies by occupational group in the September quarter. Both manager and clerical roles grew well above the national norm, 12% and 14% respectively, but this recovery is from a low base, and both remain 42% lower than a year ago.

“The strongest performing occupational group was professionals, rising a massive 25.3% in the last three months. The professional occupational group represents the highest volume of job advertisements of all occupational groups.

“It’s also worth noting that those occupations showing the higher levels of growth, notably managers, professionals and clerical and administration, have all seen
larger increases for contingent vacancies than permanent opportunities.

“The standout industry for the quarter is clearly education and training, where the number of opportunities rose by a staggering 51.6%, albeit off a low base.

“From a regional perspective, the most consistent gains were made in NSW – up 24.4% in permanent job opportunities and 27.3% in contingent work (25.3% overall). However, the number of opportunities in NSW is still down 35.6% year-on-year.

“Victoria did, surprisingly, show improvement since June, particularly in contingent work. After recording solid gains in May, June and July, renewed lockdowns resulted in a sharp fall in the number of opportunities in August before a partial recovery in September.

“The rebound in job prospects in the ACT is a more encouraging story for job seekers. The strong growth, particularly in contingent work, means that the ACT, down just 8% on year-ago levels, along with Tasmania (down 9.5%), are the regions to have best withstood the first six months of the pandemic.”