Western Australia

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The West Australia graphic shows 22% of jobs are regional. 14% of workers are aged 15 to 24 years. 15% of workers are self-employed.
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32% of workers hold a bachelor degree or higher. 31% of workers hold a certificate 3 or higher qualification. 6% of workers hold an other qualification. 31% of workers do not hold a post-school qualification.

 

Top employing industries in Western Australia

  Employ’t May 2021 Share of total 5 year change to May 2021
Industries  '000 %  '000 %
Health Care and Social Assistance 202.0 15 50.5 33.3
Education and Training 131.5 9 39.9 43.6
Construction 128.7 9 -5.5 -4.1
Retail Trade 123.8 9 -11.7 -8.7
Mining 120.0 9 12.7 11.9
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services 105.6 8 10.8 11.4
Accommodation and Food Services 88.9 6 -1.2 -1.4
Manufacturing 84.9 6 1.2 1.4
Public Administration and Safety 84.8 6 0.9 1.0
Transport, Postal and Warehousing 75.7 5 12.6 19.9
Other Services 56.7 4 -1.6 -2.8
Administrative and Support Services 43.0 3 2.6 6.5
Wholesale Trade 33.3 2 -5.9 -15.2
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing 31.2 2 -0.4 -1.3
Financial and Insurance Services 28.6 2 1.2 4.2
Arts and Recreation Services 26.5 2 -1.9 -6.8
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services 20.5 1 3.5 20.5
Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services 18.1 1 -4.4 -19.7
Information Media and Telecommunications 8.7 1 -7.3 -45.9

Western Australia is the fourth largest employing state, with employment mostly located in Perth.

The largest employing industry in Western Australia is Health Care and Social Assistance. Demand for work in this industry is only going to increase given Australia’s ageing population. It is worth noting that not everyone employed in this industry is a doctor or a nurse.

Some of the top employing occupations in Health Care and Social Assistance include Receptionists, General Clerks, Kitchenhands and Commercial Cleaners. These are all occupations that can be perfect entry level positions and generally require minimal qualifications or prior experience.

Unlike the rest of Australia, a large proportion of Western Australians are employed in the Mining industry (around one in 10 workers). Reflecting this, around 45% of total Mining employment is in this state.

The impact of COVID-19 on the Western Australia labour market

Following the onset of COVID-19 and the shutdown of non-essential services and trading restrictions, employment in Western Australia fell sharply between March 2020 and the trough in May 2020 (down by 95,600 or 6.9%).

Over the same period, 67,300 people left the labour force, pushing the participation rate down, from 68.2% in March 2020, to 65.0% in May 2020, the lowest rate recorded since August 2004. In addition, the unemployment rate rose sharply, from 5.7% in March 2020, to 8.0% in May 2020, before peaking at 8.5% in June 2020, the highest rate recorded since June 1994.

Reflecting the decline in COVID-19 cases, and subsequent easing in restrictions, however, employment in Western Australia increased by 128,700 between May 2020 and July 2021 and is now 33,200 (or 2.4%) above its pre-pandemic level. Moreover, the participation rate in the state increased to 68.5% in July 2021, while the unemployment rate is now below the rate recorded in March 2020, standing at 4.6% in July 2021.

While the outbreak of COVID-19 across a number of Australian jurisdictions has increased the level of uncertainty across much of the country, it is encouraging to note that there has been robust growth in recruitment activity in Western Australia (reflecting the relative absence of COVID-19), as measured by the Internet Vacancy Index, with job advertisements now 1.6 times higher in July 2021 than the pre-pandemic level.

Employment by region, Western 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 Perth 1087.5 44.4 4.3 34 47 14 19 35 28 30
Bunbury 91.8 -2.3 -2.4 33 46 19 20 21 42 35
Western Australia - Outback 114.9 -4.7 -3.9 25 43 9 20 29 40 28
Western Australia - Wheat Belt 70.9 10.1 16.6 37 45 9 32 16 39 40
Western Australia 1391.8 79.6 6.1 33 47 14 20 32 31 31
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.