Photo by PETER HONG on Unsplash

Business confidence has crept back up to pre-Covid levels, according to NAB’s Monthly Business Survey for November, but businesses are still shedding jobs.

The job market is weakest in the Victoria, NSW, and Queensland but better around the rest of the country, with Victoria experiencing a spike in hiring in October immediately after lockdown but since dropping off again. 

Employment index

“Encouragingly, business confidence saw another large rise, driven by an improvement in Victoria. Conditions also saw gains and, importantly, this was evident across most states,” NAB Group chief economist Alan Oster said. 

“However, the employment index did not see a further improvement and remains in negative territory,” Mr Oster said.

“So, while activity is picking up as the economy reopens, businesses are yet to move back into hiring mode. This is not completely surprising with the labour market often lagging developments in activity – so we will keep closely watching this measure.”

Confidence improved everywhere except Tasmania, namely in the economic powerhouses NSW and Victoria, with an overall increase from nine to 12 index points.

The bank’s indicators for business conditions, which takes into account trading, profitability and employment, rose seven points overall, but Victoria is yet to fully recover. 

The jobs stories

Anecdotally, some Victorian businesses are hiring, including innovative developer Assemble that took on 15 new staff members throughout lockdown.

Climate change think tank ClimateWorks Australia is also in growth mode, recruiting a number of roles including leads for seven new teams dedicated to different priority areas for tackling climate change over the next decade.

Some businesses are growing their ranks through acquisitions, such as energy retailer Flow Power acquiring Australian-owned solar engineering company iEnergytech to bring its solar installation in-house.

This will bolster the retailer’s expertise in behind-the-meter solar PV and energy storage solutions, energy-efficient lighting solutions, power use efficiency and compliance audits on existing solar PV and energy storage solutions.

As the job market starts to improve, it will be all eyes on the next generation of workers. The latest group of pre-apprentices have graduate from the newest Productivity Bootcamp, located at Campbelltown south west of Sydney, which exposes young people to different industries, such as metal fabrication and bricklaying, so they can get a better idea about what to expect and make a suitable choice.

It also trains up the next generation of construction workers in key skills such as resilience and time management through an eight-week intensive on-the-job training program.

Job movements

Michelle Thomas has been installed permanently in GECA’s top job after acting as chief executive officer since the start of the year. 

She’s worked at the not-for-profit that provides ecolabels for products and services since July 2019, and before that various roles in sustainability, marketing and fundraising sectors.

Former Lendlease sustainability trailblazer Anita Mitchell has been picked to lead Placemaking NSW, which will sit within the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment as an independent advisory committee.

Our pick of the jobs

Work for Eco Logical Australia, an ecological, environmental assessment, and conservation planning consultancy based in Canberra, as a senior ecologist. 

Also in the nation’s capital there’s a job going to work on the light rail as project manager, environment and sustainability. The job is for Major Projects Canberra.

Professional services firm Stantec is hiring a senior planning and environmental approvals consultant based in Brisbane.

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