This newsletter, by Kelly Services , is the first in a regular series of labour market updates, providing a snapshot of the jobs market in three areas central to Australia’s skills base, namely financial services, scientific and engineering. The information is derived from Kelly’s Professional Technical Division that has offices across Australia.
- Specialist skills- the key to Science jobs
- Engineering jobs booming but not at any price
- Financial recruitment puts a premium on local experience
Kelly Scientific Resources
Overall, the scientific jobs market is strong and there are many openings for the right candidates. It is an ideal time for those with the right qualifications to find a job or for those with some experience to progress their career.
Those with a chemistry degree are in high demand, driven by work associated with the mining boom and in the pharmaceuticals industry. Environmental scientists are also highly sought as a result of increased activity around climate and water. Geologists and mining industry professionals are also in demand.
Although salaries for those in remote mining areas have risen sharply, some areas of the science industry have not kept pace. Candidates with around five years post-graduate experience will earn on average around $50,000 a year, which is relatively modest given they have both experience and a qualification.
The gap between remote based salaries and those offered in the city continues to lure available talent away from metropolitan based laboratories.
For example, in Perth, experienced laboratory technicians and chemists are in high demand, especially those with laboratory skills including wet chemistry skills, instrumental analysis and quality systems.
The scientific industry has in the past year experienced a shift in attitude toward older workers. Where older workers would have been previously overlooked for their younger counterparts, because of the lack of candidates, they are now an untapped source of skills and experience.
One of the difficulties for new graduates is reluctance by employers to hire anyone with less than six months’ experience. Graduates are mainly opting for lab technician work which earns an annual salary of about $38,000.
At the higher end, a lab manager with around six employees will earn around $70,000 and a manager of a group of laboratories, around $120,000 to $150,000
Kelly Engineering Resources
The engineering market is job-rich and candidate-short. It is not only in the resource-driven mining sector, but extends to electrical and mechanical engineering.
Across the industry, skilled engineers are in short supply. But even with the surging demand for jobs, there is still a stringent selection criteria which means that some candidates, especially those without Australian expertise, are not successful.
In fact, some organisations will opt to go without, rather than hiring wrongly or poorly skilled employees.
There is strong demand in the market for engineers with around eight to ten years experience. During the IT boom many potential engineers chose the IT industry instead of engineering due to the fluctuating cycles of the resource industry. This means there is a shortage of experienced management able to act as leaders and teachers for the next generation of engineers.
Some organisations are bringing back people who have retired from the industry on a contractual basis in an effort to fill shortages.
There is strong demand for mechanical engineers with experience in mining processing, and for civil or structural engineers with experience in heavy industry. Designers, both drafting and engineering, in mechanical, electrical and structural industries are in strong demand especially if they have good working knowledge of ‘3D’.
Salaries for a third year engineer can be up to $100,000 and a senior engineer’s salary can range from $150,000-$300,000. Currently, the typical salary for a graduate is around $50,000-$80,000 and for senior project managers, approximately $150,000.
Kelly Financial Resources
The financial services industry is continuing to experience a skills shortage, or as Kelly Financial Resources Branch Manager, Tracy McClenaghan puts it, a ‘quality’ shortage.
There is no shortage of candidates on the market, but some accounting roles require local qualifications and experience which means that many international candidates are considered unsuitable. Although the fundamentals of accounting are generally universal, elements of Australian accounting such as tax, governance, compliance and regulations cannot be easily transferred.
Financial services workers with Australian experience are being offered the pick of jobs and are in a better bargaining position in regard to pay and conditions.
The financial services industry has seen a salary increase of approximately $10,000-$20,000 in mid-range roles due to local shortages.
Financial accountants, tax consultants and those with Australian Stock Exchange experience are currently the most highly sought-after. Some financial services companies are asking recruiters to send resumes of candidates with local experience, whether a role is available or not, indicating the extent of the demand for local talent.
At a recent Kelly Financial Resources breakfast, CommSec Chief Economist, Craig James, commented on Australia’s 33-year low unemployment resulting from a combination of strong economic growth, high demand for skilled workers and a relative shortage of Gen Y workers.