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Labour mobility slows as job security concerns grow: NAB

23 February 2024
labour mobility slows as job security concerns grow nab

The number of workers switching jobs is falling as stress levels relating to job security rise, according to a recent NAB report.

The proportion of Australian workers switching jobs has reduced with only one in four workers stating they had changed jobs in the past year, according to NAB’s latest behavioural insights report for the fourth quarter.

This was a decline from the previous quarter when three in ten workers said they had switched jobs in the past 12 months. Only 9 per cent had switched jobs in the past three months, down from 12 per cent in the third quarter.

The Changing Workplace report stated that with unemployment drifting higher in recent months, the number of workers who were considering a job change fell to 22 per cent, down from 27 per cent in the previous quarter.


“By job type, it was highest for community and personal service workers at 35 per cent and general unskilled workers at 33 per cent. By industry, it was highest in Hospitality at 36 at per cent,”

The report also noted big falls in the number of workers in utilities, (23 per cent from 65 per cent), construction (14 per cent from 32 per cent), telecoms (18 per cent from 36 per cent) and education (20 per cent from 31 per cent) that had considered a job change, but a somewhat higher number in retail (25 per cent from 18 per cent) and wholesale (17 per cent from 10 per cent) that did.

“Workers who considered changing jobs or kept up with opportunities remained highest by some margin in age groups under 50,” it said.

NAB expects that consumer concerns around jobs will continue to increase as the economy slows, with the major bank predicting that the unemployment rate will reach around 4.5 per cent by the end of 2024.

“Recent data confirms the economy is growing at a well-below trend pace, while the latest NAB Consumer Stress Survey highlighted sharply rising concerns related to job security in the December quarter,” it said.

Despite the slowing economy, NAB said more Australians still expect their incomes to rise rather than fall in the next 12 months.

“When Australians who expected their incomes to increase in the next year were also asked to estimate by how much they expected their weekly income would rise, on average it rose quite sharply to $200 from $147 in the third quarter,” it said.

“Income expectations increased in all age groups and fell with age. They were highest in the 18-29 group ($244 versus $211) and stepped down in each successive age group to $92 in the over-65 group ($52 in Q3).

“By job type, expectations were highest (and climbed sharply) for sales workers ($283 up from $184) and general unskilled workers ($268 up from $132). Expectations were next highest for managers ($250 versus $208) and community and personal services workers ($245).”


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