NDR Quarterly Employment Market Insights - March 2023

Employment Market Insights - March 2023

The manufacturing sector across Australia remains buoyant. Whilst there is some cautious sentiment in the sector around the broader economic climate, we are continuing to see significant investment in on-shore manufacturing across Australia. 

The challenges over the last few years with global supply chains, record levels of demand for labour and lack of net migration has forced many industry players (blue-chips and SME’s) to rethink their strategies. Some have gone niche, some have invested in smarter technology and others have just forged on the best they can. 

We work a lot with manufactures of capital equipment (OEM’s) and the level of product innovation, increasing production capacity and forecasted sales growth is staggering. We have seen dozens of examples in recent months where OEM’s have doubled down on their investment in technology, innovation, talent attraction/retention and go-to-market functions. This has put a large part of the sector in a really strong position and the level of optimism is extremely strong as a result. So, what does this mean for the manufacturing & operations employment market?  

Across 2023/24 we expect the following to play-out….  

Continued high demand for specialist skills 

Until migration levels increase and an overhaul of tertiary training occurs, we expect the demand for specialist skills i.e. all roles engineering and trades will remain at high levels. Good people with the right combination of technical ability and soft skills are safe for now until AI and the Robots win! 

Opportunity to attract transferable skills from other sectors

We believe there is a clear opportunity for the manufacturing and operations sector to take advantage of other industries declining. We’ve successfully worked with several clients recently where they secured excellent people and traded off core industry experience. This included someone from technology sales moving to an OEM account management role and a civil construction professional moving to a Trades Assistant role within metals manufacturing. If you’re in a position to provide technical skills training and focussed on finding the best people, we’d highly recommend thinking laterally.  

More wage and salary pressure 

With inflation and the cost of living continuing to rise, there is no doubt wages and salaries will become of even greater importance to employees when they’re considering their career plans. We are seeing this play-out in the market every day and it’s evident that it’s a big topic in most households. Employers are going to need to become smarter around rewarding high performance and recognising those who are providing a clear return on investment. In SME businesses, one increasing trend we’ve seen is having a staff bonus structure tied to net profit performance or similar. New thinking and working out ways your people can have more cash in hand is definitely required! 

Learning and development to accelerate

Most senior managers or executives we talk to are super excited about how technology can positively impact their businesses. But, often we find many are neglecting the level of change management and training that is required to get their people on-board and minimise lost productivity. In the short-term many employees are telling us that technology change adds to their workload / hours and the benefits can get lost quickly. Investing in internal or external training enablement and team champions etc should pay big dividends if executed well. We’re always more than happy to network our clients with industry peers who have led large change programs to share insights and save some heartache!     

Continued need to improve talent retention

We’ve seen big advances in this space in recent years by employers large and small in our sector. But, there is still work to do. Whilst there are many facets to this, we firmly believe (backed-up by a number of credible local and global surveys), that people don’t leave companies, but they leave managers. If you’re a people leader, please make sure you’re receiving regular 360o feedback from your team, developing your leadership skills daily and providing the inspiration your team needs to stay engaged. With many teams working on a hybrid office / WFH model this has never been more challenging and important to address. Don’t limit your mentors to your own company either. Most of the best leaders we know are well networked and regularly meet with industry peers to help their own development. 

We’d be keen to hear feedback from others in the sector. 

What do you think will be the major trends and impacts on the manufacturing and operations employment market in the next 12 months?

Call us today on 02 9997 7040 if you’re keen to hear more about our thoughts on the employment sector, availability of top talent or if you are looking for accurate wages & salary data.  

For all of our latest contract or permanent job opportunities, please visit https://www.nextdayrecruitment.com.au/find-a-job

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