The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has published data showing a 6.1 per cent decrease in job vacancies from November 2023 to February 2024.

Despite this decline, which suggests that more Australians are securing employment, many continue to face challenges in the job market.

“Job vacancies are now 23.5 per cent lower than they were at their peak in May 2022. However, they remain well above the pre-COVID-19 pandemic level and are still 59.8 per cent higher than February 2020, or around 136,000 more vacancies,” Bjorn Jarvis, ABS head of labour statistics said.

Data sourced from ABS.

Kingsley, an engineer with three years experience, said he has been searching for a more suitable position for a year without success. After applying for more than 40 jobs in the past 12 months, he is still stuck where he was when he started. 

He said a lack of jobs between entry-level and those requiring extensive experience, and being someone who is seeking employment somewhere in the middle, made it difficult.

“What I’ve found is the job market mostly seems to be jobs for people with either a lot of experience or no experience,” he said. 

“There is very little for people at the intermediate level of experience that I’ve got.

“It’s pretty disheartening.” 

While there are jobs available, people like Kingsley and his partner Alexandra, who are based in Brisbane, are finding that these roles are only in some fields. This is reflected in ABS data also.

Data shows that more jobs are available in specific fields, such as health care and social assistance, and fewer in fields like construction or arts and recreational services. Data sourced from ABS.


Alexandra is a qualified teacher and worked in a primary school in a remote Indigenous community near Broome during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

She decided to change careers, like many who have an average of up to seven careers in their working life.

After moving to Brisbane, Alexandra found part-time short-term employment, jumping from a three-month contract to a three-month contract.

She said she often receives notice of her next contract at the end of a current one and with less than a week’s notice.

She said it was only when she was offered a permanent position just before Christmas that she realised how stressful the lack of certainty was.

“Going contract to contract like that versus when I was suddenly told I was permanent, I didn’t quite realise how much it was impacting on everything else I was thinking,” Alexandra said. 

“Once I was permanent, I felt this wave of being more at ease.”

The pair said there are broader consequences of the current job market situation in that people are unable to save for the big things.  

“You still don’t want to eat into your savings,” Kingsley said. 

“You want to save for a house, and the thought of your bank account going backward is not appealing. 

“It’s difficult enough to save as is.”

The Federal Government has announced the members to sit on the Jobs and Skills Australia Ministerial Advisory Board which will address skill shortages and improve workforce participation, productivity, wages and equity.

The Board will report to the Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Conner regularly.

Photo courtesy of Timothy Gibson