Australia’s jobs market tightest on record

The closure of Australia’s international border to immigration has done wonders for the labour market, which had suffered from a decade of stagnating real wages.

As illustrated last month by CBA’s head of Australian economics Gareth Aird, the number of foreign residents employed in Australia has fallen dramatically over the past year, declining from 521,000 in Q1 20 to 235,000 in Q1 21:

Non-resident workers

Migrant workers go home.

The exodus of these migrant workers has helped to tighten the labour market, with industries that have a higher concentration of foreign workers, like hospitality, experiencing the largest jump in job vacancies:

Internet job vacancies

Big rises in job vacancies.

Although job vacancies have surged across all skill levels:

Internet job vacancies across skill levels

Tightening labour market.

The next chart divides the total number of unemployed and underemployed Australians, as measured by the ABS, with the ABS’ job vacancies data for May (released last week). As you can see, both the number of unemployed and underemployed persons per job vacancy fell to its lowest level in records dating back to 1983:


  • There were only 1.9 unemployed people per job vacancy in May 2021, down from 3.3 immediately prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • There were only 4.8 unemployed & underemployed people per job vacancy in May 2021, down from 8.3 immediately prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Again, this is wonderful news for Australian workers who will find it much easier to secure work and will soon enjoy rising wage growth.

For once Australian workers are in the drivers seat. Why give these gains up by rebooting the mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ program?

Unconventional Economist


  1. Fishing72MEMBER

    “They took err jobs!!!!”

    Well, yes. They did actually.
    The truth is xenophobic.

  2. C.M.BurnsMEMBER

    IT consulting and contractor market is going mental. We are losing several people a month to “lesser” roles but crazy money. Last few years, we’d would average < 1 person leaving a month (100+ person company)

    the salary inflation in the IT services sector is real

    • I’ve been out of work IT for 7 months. Had 3 zoom interviews applied for about 17 positions. Feed back is always the same. Not the right cultural fit. Code for white male over 50.

  3. I’d consider changing career if I knew immigration wasn’t coming back to nose bleed levels.