The “great resignation” finally lands in Australia


Job mobility data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that Aussies are taking advantage of the record tight labour market to switch jobs at the fastest rate in a decade.

The retrenchment rate also fell to its lowest level on record.

From Deloitte Access Economics’ Weekly Economics Briefing:

In the year to February 2022, 1.3 million Australians (9.5% of all employed people) changed jobs. This is the highest annual job mobility rate since 2012. And, job mobility expectations have grown particularly among higher skilled occupations and full-time workers…

As pandemic-related restrictions have eased, we have seen a significant rise in job mobility as firms have resumed hiring and demand for labour has soared…

The latest data also reflected a drop in the retrenchment rate, which was 1.5% in the year to February 2022, the lowest annual rate on record in Australia. So, the higher rate of job mobility shows that workers are changing jobs because they want to (not because they have to), due to an abundance of opportunities for workers at present.

Australian job mobility

Unlike usual trends in job mobility, the increases in the job mobility rate have been particularly evident in the professional, scientific and technical services industry as job mobility increased from 7.4% in 2021 to 11.7% in 2022.

Historically, industries with younger workers with lower earnings have been associated with higher job mobility. However, current trends have seen increases in job mobility being driven by job churn of professional workers (where workers change jobs but remain in the same sector). Skilled workers are in an environment of increased bargaining power as employers struggle to fill skill gaps.


Workers seeking to change jobs should move fast before the Reserve Bank goes too far with its monetary tightening and the Albanese Government uses September’s Jobs Summit as a Trojan Horse to lifts immigration to its highest ever level.

Australia’s record tight jobs market won’t last with a global recession likely just around the corner.

About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.