Top employing industries in Queensland
Queensland is the third largest employing state in Australia, with around half the jobs located in Brisbane and a further 13% in the Gold Coast area.
Given the size and diversity of the Queensland economy, employment opportunities exist across all industries. Health Care and Social Assistance is the largest employing industry in Queensland, with 15% of the state’s employment. There are many roles within this industry that do not require medical qualifications or extensive prior experience. Some of these include Receptionists, General Clerks, Kitchenhands and Commercial Cleaners.
Construction is another large employer, representing around 9% of total employment.
Workers in Queensland are less likely than the national average to hold a bachelor degree or higher, but are more likely to have a certificate III or higher qualification. There is a higher proportion of females employed in this state than the national average and around one in three Queensland workers are employed part-time.
It is worth noting that Queenslanders are more likely to be self-employed than workers in the rest of Australia, with around one in six employed Queenslanders working as their own boss.
The impact of COVID-19 on the Queensland labour market
Following the onset of COVID-19, employment in Queensland fell sharply between March 2020 and the trough in May 2020 (down by 198,400 or 7.7%). Over the same period, 154,600 people left the labour force, pushing the participation rate down, from 65.5% in March 2020, to 61.7% in May 2020. In addition, the unemployment rate rose, from 5.8% in March 2020, to 7.8% in May 2020, before peaking at 8.7% in July 2020, the highest rate since May 2001.
Reflecting the decline in COVID-19 cases, and subsequent easing in restrictions in the state, employment increased by 293,400 between May 2020 and July 2021, and is 95,000 (or 3.7%) above its pre-pandemic level. Moreover, the participation rate in Queensland increased to 66.6% in July 2021, while the unemployment rate is now below the rate recorded in March 2020, standing at 5.2% in July 2021.
While the Internet Vacancy Index fell by 1.8% over the month to July 2021 (reflecting the lockdown in parts of Queensland at that time) job advertisements remain 1.5 times higher than their pre-pandemic level. Despite the recent absence of community transmission of COVID-19, some uncertainty surrounds the outlook for the Queensland labour market, given rising cases in New South Wales and Victoria (and ongoing border closures), which may also dampen economic and labour market activity in the state.
Employment by region, Queensland
|Employment May 2021||5 year change to May 2021||Part-time||Female||Aged 15 to 24 years||Aged 55 years or older||Bachelor degree or higher||Cert III or higher VET qual||No post-school qual|
|Darling Downs - Maranoa||64.1||0.2||0.3||32||48||14||29||11||35||41|
|Mackay - Isaac - Whitsunday||96||7.8||8.9||27||45||14||18||14||47||38|
|Queensland - Outback||38||3.1||8.9||19||44||11||24||7||54||44|
Sources: ABS, Labour Force (seasonally adjusted and annual averages of original data); ABS, Characteristics of Employment; ABS, Education and Work; National Skills Commission, Internet Vacancy Index.