South Australia

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The South Australia graphic shows 23% of jobs are regional. 15% of workers are aged 15 to 24 years. 16% of workers are self-employed.
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26% of workers hold a bachelor degree or higher. 30% of workers hold a certificate 3 or higher qualification. 7% of workers hold an other qualification. 35% of workers do not hold a post-school qualification.

 

Top employing industries in South Australia

  Employ’t May 2021 Share of total 5 year change to May 2021
Industries  '000 %  '000 %
Health Care and Social Assistance 130.4 15 10.4 8.7
Retail Trade 86.3 10 -7.1 -7.6
Education and Training 75.7 9 16.1 27.1
Construction 71.7 8 12.3 20.6
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services 70.5 8 15.2 27.5
Public Administration and Safety 68.1 8 9.8 16.8
Manufacturing 66.2 8 -7.5 -10.2
Accommodation and Food Services 58.2 7 0.7 1.3
Other Services 42.9 5 5.6 14.9
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing 34.7 4 -1.7 -4.7
Transport, Postal and Warehousing 34.6 4 2.4 7.3
Administrative and Support Services 31.0 4 3.0 10.7
Financial and Insurance Services 21.3 2 0.1 0.3
Wholesale Trade 20.6 2 -3.2 -13.6
Mining 18.6 2 9.8 111.7
Arts and Recreation Services 12.1 1 2.4 25.4
Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services 10.7 1 -3.3 -23.6
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services 9.2 1 1.2 14.8
Information Media and Telecommunications 8.3 1 -2.0 -19.7

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 Employment Profile Educational
  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
Region '000 '000 % % % % % % % %
Greater Adelaide 668 39.4 6.3 35 48 15 20 32 28 34
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
South Australia 871.1 65.7 8.2 35 48 15 21 28 30 35
Australia 13125.1 1177.9 9.9 32 47 14 20 36 29 29

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.