Mackay's low unemployment rate is putting pressure on wages.
Mackay's low unemployment rate is putting pressure on wages. Campbell Gellie

It's a workers' market...

MACKAY'S low unemployment rate has resulted in an employees' market, where people will jump ship for a paltry 50 cents.

A top Townsville-based recruiter said the 4.1 per cent unemployment rate would lead to aggressive head-hunting by companies, a push for 'green' hires and a skills shortage akin to the mining boom. Managing director of TP Human Capital Clayton Cook said these would be the immediate impacts of Mackay now having the lowest unemployment rate in Queensland.

Australian Bureau of Statistics' latest Labour Force data revealed 6600 jobs were created in the 12 months to the end of February. "In Mackay that would mean that you would be seeing signs already of what typically happens in a low-supply high-demand situation," Mr Cook said.

"People start jumping ship for an extra 50 cents to a dollar an hour, they will shift between organisations, organisations will start to headhunt or attract staff from their competition.

"This will put pressure on wages, which means wages growth, but that naturally leads to other economic outcomes like high costs of living."

Mr Cook said the resulting skill shortage in the past was balanced by unemployed workers moving down to the region from places like Townsville, but with the North Queensland city now the fastest improving area in Queensland, companies will be forced to hire "green" workers with no experience.

"So effectively in Mackay, some of the mines in particular are trying to attract people with less skill and experience than they would've been able to choose from a year or two ago," he said.

Mackay's unemployment rate hit 7.6 per cent during the slump in August 2015.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said jobs growth in the last year was in line with a strong recovery in both coal prices and demand.

Mackay has reported the third lowest youth unemployment rate across all 19 regions with 9.2 per cent and the third largest percentage drop in unemployment with a 1.7 per cent decrease over the past 12 months.


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