Top employing industries in Western Australia
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 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|
|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|
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.