Australian Job Market Trends | 2023

Current Australian job market trends feel eerily like we’ve already arrived at the much-talked-about ‘future of work’.

From a little as two years ago when we covered the Australian job market trends as the pandemic was in full swing, things have shifted significantly.

Some trends were already starting back then. Like remote working, flexible working arrangements and (some) talent shortages. Today, a number of these trends are now amplified, and additional trends have surfaced.

Today, the Australian job market is suffering the effects of economic pain and interest rate rises. It makes for a different job market dynamic from a couple of years back. Pressure on employers and workers in relation to productivity and ROI is omnipresent. We are living in stressful times.

So, to keep your business up to speed with today’s job market, to make sure you’re providing the best options for your workers, and to attract and retain the best talent in the market, read on.

Flexibility: Working from Home Remains the Lead Australian Job Market Trend

The job market remains tight in Australia, despite our economy teetering on shaky ground. This means employers need to heed workers’ wants and needs. Currently, the primary need workers are looking to fulfil is the ability to work from home.

Workers aren’t just looking for new jobs. They’re looking for new jobs where they can work from home.

According to a new report from SEEK, the most popular search term across their platform is ‘work from home’.

Working from home was thrown upon most Australian companies and workers when the pandemic started three years ago. A scenario that required us to adapt quickly and efficiently. Now, workers are used to it. And they’re reluctant to give it up – even if part of the week is in the office, that’s more appealing than full-time in the office.

Workers have adapted their homes, routines, and schedules to effectively accommodate working from home. And most want to make the most of this setup.

Interestingly, data from Gartner shows productivity is improved in a flexible arrangement. Most workers are seeking ‘everyday’ flexibility – the ability to manage and adjust start and finish times, the freedom to manage work commitments in and around life commitments and for work to be measured in outputs delivered, rather than hours worked or location performed.

Australia Job Market Trends

Talent Scarcity and Upskilling on the Rise

This is an Australian job market trend that affects pretty much all organisations.

Talent scarcity is not a new challenge, by any means. But augmentation at the hands of the pandemic means the skills shortage we’re seeing now, won’t slow down in the face of the current economic headwinds.

Many businesses are struggling – just when attracting, retaining, and engaging the best workers is more crucial than ever. Talent search and supply services will continue to play a key role, as it’s the worker’s skills and expertise that are set to help solve the challenges the world is now facing.

From a global standpoint, the economic outlook for 2023 is complex.  According to Morgan Stanley, inflation peaked recently (or it will peak shortly), and modest growth or potentially a slight contraction is predicted for many regions. Also, the world faces political unrest across a number of regions, including Ukraine – an ongoing instability that continues to spook markets. According to the OCED, labour markets remain tight and well below pre-pandemic levels with lower-paying sectors still lagging. Under normal circumstances, this economic climate would make for a buyer’s market—but we are not living in normal circumstances right now.

Under these conditions, it’s even more important for organisations to step up their talent management practices. That means:

  • Workforce planning: have a talent strategy that anticipates future business needs, with a particular focus on the skills needed, rather than just headcount
  • Upskilling workers: upskilling and reskilling workers will enable companies to future-proof themselves against further market volatility
  • Listen to worker’s needs: as mentioned above, workers are seeking roles and organisations where they can work from home, for at least part of the week

Paid Domestic Violence Leave

In September 2022, the NSW Government moved to offer all public sector workers 20 days of paid domestic violence leave. And it’s likely that employers will follow suit. We anticipate this to be an established Australian job market trend within the next couple of years.

Given the importance of providing safety to workers, more safety initiatives will likely be rolled out this year. For example:

  • Providing safe spaces for workers
  • Providing programs for financial or psychological support
  • The provision of temporary accommodation for at-risk workers
  • Providing access to ‘burner’ phones and first responders trained to support staff suffering from family or domestic abuse.

Compliance: A Key Australian Workforce Trend

As most workers now operate in a hybrid working situation – partly from home, partly from the office – compliance issues remain a key focus for 2023. The main compliance issues to consider include, amongst others:

Workplace health and safety (WHS): the WHS responsibility remains with the employer under hybrid working conditions. Larger organisations are likely to have a work-from-home protocol in place. While small to mid-sized companies may be scrambling to establish the right WHS policy. The employer needs to ensure the worker’s home working environment is safe. At the same time, they must ensure they are legally and financially protected should a worker get injured on the job, or at home.

A safe digital environment: a safe digital working environment involves providing workers with company-issued hardware, enabled with current anti-virus software. Or, if workers are using their own hardware, set compliance standards for workers including:

  • Making sure their computer is enabled with an up-to-date, trusted anti-virus software
  • Provide workers with a paid-for Virtual Private Network (VPN)
  • If workers need specific apps to work remotely, ensure they’re downloaded from trusted sources like Google Play or Apple App Store (both of which have stepped up their security standards in light of COVID)
  • Train workers on being vigilant about phishing, doxing and other scams, so their hardware and your company data aren’t compromised.

Privacy and worker data: with workers operating remotely, the use of their data needs to be managed with precision, caution and transparency. Provide workers with an understanding of how their data will be used. That is, to measure business performance and output, rather than to micromanage. Establish a policy for the use of worker data. And keep workers abreast of your approach, and any changes, at all times.

The Australian Job Market Technology Trend

Technology is the new team member. With ongoing advancements in AI, the advent of ChatGPT, and other technologies such as speech recognition, robotic process automation and deep learning platforms, we’ve entered a new era of working.

This is what Deloitte calls the ‘superteam’: basically, a hybrid of workers and technology, each offering complementary skills, designed to produce outcomes at scale.

And fast. Upskilling, reskilling of workers and the dismantling of old structures, will produce results not seen (or anticipated) before.

Machine learning developments mean complex cognitive tasks and creativity are on the road to being automated more readily – a key topic at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos.

“One of the things we think a lot about is how to deploy this technology to empower human beings to do more,” Nadella said.

Satya Nadella, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft Corp, World Economic Forum ‘Future of Work’, Davos, 2023

Software developers may use generative AI to write around 80% of their code now. But that doesn’t mean that a human isn’t needed or that their creative input is redundant.

The Australian Job Market 2023

Expectation Around Wages

The last couple of years has been marked by significant wage increases in some areas.

But with increasing inflation and fewer jobs on the market, salary expectations will need to be tempered.

Already, there’s a softening of some economic indicators, with job advertisements falling 5.2% in September 2022, and job applications per job ad rising by 10.3%, the greatest rise since April 2020.

Although unemployment declined to 3.25% by late 2022, the forecast is for a gradual rise now we’re in 2023.

Typically, in times of economic uncertainty, workforce behaviours see job security as the holy grail. However, with inflation rates in 2022 causing real wages to shrink by as much as 3%, we can expect continuing resignations in pursuit of higher salaries. Real wages are expected to catch up as the consumer price index (CPI) is projected to trend at 3.5% in 2023 and 2.5% in 2024, providing some eventual relief on salary pressures for employers.

So, with reduced job competition, we should see increased candidate availability. And with some changes in job seeker behaviour, we will likely see the motivated job seeker, not the opportunistic one of 2022.


Australian job market trends have really shifted in 2023. There’s a lot to consider as an employer. And staying on top of these market dynamics is key to your business success this year.

Finally, please do contact us if you have any feedback or comments.

As one of the world’s leading providers of contingent worker management solutionsCXC is well-positioned to optimise all elements of your contingent workforce strategy.

With operations in more than 50 countries across five continents and decades of experience, we can assist with every aspect of your program.

If you’d like to discuss the current Australian job market trends, please don’t hesitate to contact us.