6 Major Trends That Have Emerged in Australian Workplaces Over the Past 25 Years

6 Major Trends That Have Emerged in Australian Workplaces Over the Past 25 Years

The last quarter century has been game-changing for a number of reasons. We survived a pandemic and global financial crisis, Taylor Swift released 12 albums and SEEK was born. The online employment marketplace has been connecting job seekers with job offers and data for 25 years now, and in celebration of that milestone, SEEK has put together a list of 25 trends in the Australian workforce from the past 25 years.

Here are some key takeaways and work trends in Australia worth knowing about from the report.

Australian work trends from the past 25 years

Falling and rising occupations

Between the years of 1998 and 2022, the introduction of technology saw the number of available jobs in certain occupations fall, while others rose in demand, including:

  • Secretary: down 71.3%
  • Sewing machinists: down 76.9%
  • Bank workers: down 57%
  • General manager: up 746.4%
  • HR Manager: up 732%
  • Aged and disabled carers: up 338.2%
  • Registered nurse: up 85.2%

Additionally, SEEK’s report found that the top jobs in the last 25 years have consistently been sales assistants, with general clerks and retail managers also remaining on the list. More popular occupations that have risen to the top recently were nurses and carers.

Delivery driver positions have also increased by 42 per cent over the past 22 years.

Work perks

The perks that workers value have switched significantly over the past 25 years, particularly after the pandemic. SEEK found that the top work perks Aussies value are:

  • Option to work from home/flexibility
  • Discounted goods/services
  • Discounted health insurance/travel insurance

Top trending job keywords

jobs trends australia

SEEK’s search results also paint a fascinating picture of the jobs and values that are in demand in the workplace right now, which include casual positions, FIFO roles and work-from-home options.

The top 20 searched keywords on SEEK are:

  1. Work from home
  2. Casual
  3. Administration
  4. Retail
  5. Registered Nurse
  6. No Experience
  7. Part-Time
  8. Electrician
  9. Truck driver
  10. Chef
  11. Manager
  12. Receptionist
  13. FIFO
  14. Customer Service
  15. Disability support worker
  16. Warehouse
  17. Project manager
  18. Driver
  19. Accountant
  20. Labourer

How long do employees stay in one role?

The average time employees stay in one role has also shifted significantly in 25 years, moving from long-haul stints to shorter periods of one to two years.

SEEK’s research found that three to four years is now what people consider the optimum amount of time in a role, which equates to around three jobs per decade. This means those starting work at 18 could have over 17 different positions on average in their lifetime.

What types of roles are on offer?

There’s been a large variance in the types of roles that are offered on SEEK in the last 25 years, which have ranged from full-time to contract or casual positions.

According to SEEK’s trends report, part-time work has grown the most over the past few decades, with part-time positions nearly doubling between 1980 and 2020. While full-time roles still make up the largest portion, part-time job ads currently make up 11 per cent of those posted on SEEK.

Wage trends

Let’s talk about the important stuff – pay. It’s no secret that the cost of living crisis has dramatically shifted the workforce, in ways that are probably still too new to be reflected in this latest report. But comparing the stats to those of 20 years ago still reveals a lot.

According to SEEK’s report, the cost of living has increased by around 90 per cent since the site launched, and while wages have continued to grow year on year, so has inflation.

SEEK’s research shows that in 1998 the average full-time worker earned about $37,000 a year, which is below the national minimum wage in 2023. Now, the average full-time wage is over 150 per cent higher, at $1,808 per week. Unfortunately, inflation has risen with it.

The fastest wage growth was seen in industries like media and telecommunications, where inflation-adjusted full-time wages are 46 per cent higher than in 1998. Meanwhile, ‘other services’ like automotive repair and hair and beauty services have risen by only 14 per cent since 1998, after adjusting for inflation.

There’s no doubt it’s a turbulent time out there in the workforce. If you want to future-proof your career allow us to point you towards some skills that will be in demand in the workplace in the years to come.

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