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Job mobility falls for first time in three years

Job mobility falls for first time in three years

In short:

The ABS has recorded a decrease in job mobility for the first time in three years.

It also found more people are finding it difficult to secure work this year than previous years.

What’s next?

Peak employment advocacy organisation Anglicare Australia said more people wanted to stay in their jobs amid the cost of living crisis, but it called for the creation of more entry-level jobs to help people find work.  

Fewer Australians are leaving their jobs or starting new ones than since before the pandemic, data from the Australian Bureau of statistics (ABS) has found. 

In the 12 months to February 2024, up to 8 per cent of employed people, or 1.1 million people, changed their employer or business, down from 9.5 per cent last year.

The job mobility rate over the past year was slightly higher for women at 8.2 per cent, compared with men at 7.9 per cent.

It had been higher for men for most of the past decade.

Sales workers had the highest mobility rate, with 9.7 per cent of them changing jobs, closely followed by community and personal service workers at 9.6 per cent.

Job mobility rates fell in most industries, but there were large falls in arts and recreation services, with a 5.4 per cent drop. 

More than 1 million employed people changed their job or business in the 12 months to February 2024, about 8 per cent of the labour workforce.

“This was down 1.5 percentage points from 9.6 per cent in February 2023 and back to around what we typically saw during the five years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bjorn Jarvis, ABS head of labour statistics, said.

Maiy Azize, Australia’s deputy director of peak employment advocacy organisation Anglicare, said the numbers were not surprising given interest rates and living costs had risen.

The current official cash rate as determined by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is 4.35 per cent, and there are predictions of an interest rate increase to 4.6 per cent at the next RBA board meeting in August. 

“People are tightening their belts a bit more. If you’ve got a good job, you’re probably less likely to want to move around,” Ms Azize told the ABC.

Gen Z more likely to leave job than other generations

Younger workers move around more than older workers, with 12.6 per cent of 15 to 24-year-olds changing jobs.

Up to 5.3 per cent of workers aged 45 to 64 years changed jobs and only 1.7 per cent of those aged 65 years and over.

But youth job mobility was 15.9 per cent lower than in 2022 during the pandemic, and well below rates of more than 20 per cent 20 years ago.