Unemployment is down, and job advertising is up. 

A recent job vacancy report from Regional Australia Institute shows an unemployment rate of 3.8 per cent in regional areas, which lead author and chief economist Dr Kim Houghton says is driven by an employment pool “diminished by the closing of international borders.” 

This figure apparently varies greatly across different regions. 

There’s been an increase both in job vacancies, but also in demand for remote work. 

One online platform connecting people with remote jobs cited a “crazy” increase of over 1000 registered job seekers, nearly three times as many who registered in January 2021, according to Jo Palmer of Pointer Remote Roles.

“To me that indicates, if those employment rates are right, these people are employed but not happy,” Palmer said. 

In the healthcare industry this has come to a head as thousands of NSW nurses walked off the job on Tuesday in the largest industrial action those workers have taken since 2013 to protest “unsafe” and “unsustainable” staff-to-patient ratios and call for a 2.5 per cent pay increase. Around 20,000 healthcare workers quit their jobs last year. 

And so the Great Reshuffle continues as LinkedIn recently revealed a rise in remote work and also a trend in career pivots since the start of the pandemic. 

Jobs in human resources, software and data engineers, power engineers (electrical engineers), business development and content marketing, operations support, are in demand according to LinkedIn.

All this means that people have the opportunity to move around in a shallow employment pool, and there are many vacancies available at the moment.

People who get work from the government who probably shouldn’t 

The National Association of Women in Construction is not happy. It has called on the federal government to exclude companies that are non-compliant with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, “after it was found that non-compliant organisations were still being awarded government procurement, contracts and financial assistance”. 

A report from the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership last year found 31 non-compliant organisations were still awarded federal government contracts, suggesting that government sanctions through withholding eligibility were not being imposed.

But it’s not illegal.

NAWIC national chair Kristine Scheul said, “Compliance with the Workplace Gender Equality Act does not require organisations to correct any identified gender inequalities, or reduce their gender pay gap. As such, failure to undertake positive actions is not a breach of reporting obligations and carries no penalty.

“Last year, NAWIC made submissions to the Commonwealth Inquiry into procurement practises for government-funded infrastructure, recommending that the government mandate that any organisations bidding on government tenders have a minimum number of women nominated for each project and thereby placing “gender on the tender.”

Meanwhile the NSW government says it will form a women’s economic expert panel to help achieve gender equality in the workforce. (Hmm…where have we seen that divergence before?)

And the Property Council is urging it on, with  NSW executive director Luke Achterstraat saying he would “continue to advocate for the NSW Government to include a women’s economic security statement alongside the state budget as one of the mainstream budget papers.” 

“The Property Council of Australia is committed to increasing diversity in the property industry and recognises the important role women play in the workforce and broader economy,” he said, and it runs diversity programs Property Champions of Change to a school program, Girls in Property.

EVs – the case grows

RMIT University in Melbourne will soon have an electric vehicle research facility, which will help boost skills and employment for Melbourne’s pandemic recovery and move towards the state’s net zero targets, the university said. 

The $5.2 million funding was announced on Tuesday by minister for higher education Gayle Tierney under the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF). Minister Tierney said electrification of transport was critical for job creation and tackling climate change. 

Just recently the Australia Institute’s Carmichael Centre released a new report, Rebuilding Vehicle Manufacturing in Australia: Industrial Opportunities in an Electrified Future, which says Australia “is uniquely blessed with advantages to attract and retain EV manufacturing and rebuild the nation’s car-making capacity”. 

It has “rich reserves of lithium and rare earths, strong industrial infrastructure, a highly skilled workforce, powerful training capacity, abundant renewable energy options, and untapped consumer potential,” said Dr Mark Dean, the report’s lead author.

But it needs some big government commitment.

“And contrary to popular belief, we wouldn’t be starting from scratch,” the institute said. 

“Thanks to the resilience of our remaining automotive manufacturing supply chain, a surprising amount of auto manufacturing work – including components, specialty vehicles, and engineering – still exists here.”

Here are a few ideas to get the government going: 

  • Establish an EV manufacturing industry commission
  • Use tax incentives to encourage extraction of key 
  • Introducing a long-term strategy for vocational training
  • Offer major global manufacturers incentives 
  • Introducing local procurement laws for the rapid electrification of government vehicle fleets

PwC on Tuesday found a few items of interest in its annual CEO Survey, among them:

  • About three quarters of survey respondents said their company has either committed to emission reduction targets or are working towards them – leaving behind a quarter who haven’t yet started
  • Only 35 per cent have greenhouse gas emissions targets in their long-term corporate strategy, and 14 per cent in their personal bonus or remuneration plan 
  • CEOs identify decarbonisation, net zero and expanding renewable energy zones as the three most pressing priorities when it comes to the country’s physical infrastructure 
  • Australia’s CEOs are positive about economic growth both globally and locally in 2022 despite the potential for ongoing pandemic impacts
  • Confidence in the global economy was higher than it was pre-COVID-19, with 76 per cent of CEOs in Australia expecting economic growth globally in 2022 compared to just 11 per when surveyed in the months before the pandemic
  • Australia’s CEOs are focused on near-term skills shortages. Two thirds were concerned about the impact of COVID-19 and health-related risks on attracting and retaining talent – which is more than their global counterparts 

So many jobs on offer! Our pick

Waste, recycling and circular economy consultants Encycle Consulting is advertising leadership and consultant positions. The consultancy offers employee flexibility with part-time employment and work from home flexibility.

The NSW Department of Education has multiple opportunities currently available in sustainability, planning, Aboriginal partnerships, heritage, disability standards and environmental management professionals at School Infrastructure NSW.

National sustainability service to the property sector Nettzero is looking for a full time indoor air quality consultant / NABERS sustainability engineer in Sydney. Ideal applicants will be an active sustainability consultant and or NABERS indoor environment accredited assessor, Green Star performance AP or WELL AP, with qualifications in engineering or related fields. 

Liverpool City Council is looking for a waste education officer to join its waste planning and policy department to develop, implement and evaluate education and promotion projects in the area of domestic waste and resource recovery.

Campbelltown City Council needs a sustainability and resilience project officer to join its sustainability and resilience team in South West Sydney. 

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