Top employing industries in South Australia
South Australia has a relatively small workforce, with around 7% of national employment. Employment is concentrated in Adelaide, which accounts for 77% of state employment.
While there are employment opportunities available across all industries, more than one in three workers are employed in Health Care and Social Assistance, Retail Trade or Education and Training. Information Media and Telecommunications is South Australia’s smallest industry, accounting for 1% of employment.
Part-time employment is relatively common in this state, accounting for around 35% of employment (compared with the national average of 32%). The Barossa - Yorke - Mid North area (encompassing Clare, Peterborough, Port Pirie, Tanunda and Wallaroo) has the largest proportion of part-time employment in the state.
South Australian workers are less likely to hold post-school qualifications than workers nationally. Reversing the national trend, a higher share of workers in this state hold a certificate III or higher vocational qualification (30%) than those who have a bachelor degree or higher (28%).
The impact of COVID-19 on the South Australia labour market
Following the onset of COVID-19 and the shutdown of non-essential services and trading restrictions, employment in South Australia fell sharply between March 2020 and the trough in May 2020 (down by 47,400 or 5.5%).
Over the same period, 35,800 people left the labour force, pushing the participation rate down, from 63.0% in March 2020, to 60.5% in May 2020, the lowest rate recorded since July 2002. In addition, the unemployment rate rose, from 6.3% in March 2020, to 7.9% in May 2020, before peaking at 8.7% in June 2020, the highest rate recorded since January 1999.
Reflecting the decline in COVID-19 cases, and subsequent easing in restrictions, employment in South Australia increased by 66,400 between May 2020 and July 2021, and is now 19,000 or 2.2% above its pre-pandemic level. Moreover, the participation rate in the state increased to 62.9% in July 2021, while the unemployment rate is below the rate recorded in March 2020, standing at 4.7% in July 2021.
Encouragingly, reflecting the relative absence of COVID-19 cases, there has been robust growth in recruitment activity in South Australia, as measured by the Internet Vacancy Index, with job advertisements 1.6 times higher in July 2021 than their pre-pandemic level.
Employment by region, South Australia
|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|
|Barossa - Yorke - Mid North||53.7||3.2||6.3||38||49||10||33||19||45||35|
|South Australia - Outback||39.4||-0.6||-1.5||32||48||15||25||5||42||44|
|South Australia - South East||86.9||-0.4||-0.5||38||46||17||26||14||36||39|
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.