Australia tourist boom sparks up hospitality job market
A surge in leisure travellers to Australia is driving job growth in the country’s tourism and hospitality sectors, and recruiters specialising in these areas are increasingly in need of productivity solutions to manage their workloads.
According to a Deloitte report, the number of international visitors rose by 10 per cent over the 12-month period to June 2016 (the largest year-on-year increase since the mid-90s) while domestic leisure travel also had its fastest growth in nearly 20 years.
“Destination Australia is in demand.”
Tourism sector outpacing overall economy
High tourist numbers are having a positive impact on economic activity in the tourism and hospitality sectors. The demand for an Australian holiday has flowed into the hotel industry and major leisure destinations which are increasingly turning to recruitment consultants for help to fill new roles.
In the past 12 months, international visitors spent 17.6 per cent more than they did a year before – an increase that is more than twice the average 7.9 per cent increase over the preceding five years. When domestic tourists are factored in, combined tourism spending rose by 7.6 per cent over the past year.
This rate of increase is three times higher than the country’s GDP growth and Deloitte has since updated its forecast for international tourism growth to 6.2 percent per year for the next three years, mainly driven by visitors from Asia, especially China.
“The growth tourism is posting – and the impact that’s having on activity across the economy – is a very clear sign the transition that needs to take place and its contribution to the Australian economy is occurring,” said Lachlan Smirl, Deloitte Economics partner.
The growth we are seeing is certainly remarkable when you consider that the international and Australian economy are relatively soft. However, it is being boosted by the low Australian dollar and the rising middle class in Asia.
“While we know travel often lags the economic fundamentals, there are nevertheless clear indications it is more than just the economic drivers spurring the records Australian tourism is chalking up.” said Smirl.
“Destination Australia is in demand.”
Job Outlook predicts strong growth for jobs in the hospitality, retail and service management sectors.
Hospitality job candidates in high demand
The Australian government’s Job Outlook predicts strong growth for jobs in the hospitality, retail and service management sectors – it expects the number of job vacancies in these areas to be ‘above average’, with between 25,000 to 50,000 new roles being created by the end of 2019.
This prediction factors in employment growth and turnover.
The hospitality industry in Australia employs about 66,300 people (as at November 2015) and new employment opportunities should become available in most regions of the country.
Most jobs currently held are full-time (89.6 per cent) working an average of 41.8 hours per week and earnings are categorised as ‘above average’. Due to high demand, there is ‘below average’ unemployment in this sector.
Government trying to attract backpacker talent
To help meet some of the demand, the government plans to give $10 million in funding to Tourism Australia for the purpose of trying to attract young international visitors for working holidays. The funds are expected to result in an advertising campaign aimed at the global youth market.
Of note, there has been a fall in the number of backpackers applying for work visas in Australia since an announcement that any wages they earned would be taxed from January 2017. Although the so-called ‘backpacker tax’ is set at a relatively low level (19 per cent up to $37,000 of earnings), critics suggest it will deter young visitors from coming here to travel and work.
The government has also said it will lower the application charge for work holiday visas by $50 to $390, and introduce more flexible arrangements for working holiday makers.
“Working holiday makers are an important part of Australia’s $43.4 billion tourism industry.”
“[We] recognise that working holiday makers are an important part of Australia’s $43.4 billion tourism industry and a key source of labour, particularly in the agriculture, horticulture, tourism and hospitality sectors. We also recognise, as do stakeholders, that working holiday makers should pay fair tax on their earnings,” said Treasurer Scott Morrison.
“We will also seek to boost the arrivals of working holiday makers, which have been in decline since 2012-13 as a consequence of factors including exchange rate variations and changed economic conditions in source countries.”
How FastTrack technology can help recruiters
Growth in demand for workers in the hospitality sector is likely to translate to more business for recruitment agencies.
FastTrack360 is a novel recruitment software platform enabling the delivery of effective workforce management and contingency labour solutions. The platform integrates three powerful application engines to provide seamless delivery of the following functions – candidate search and recruitment, candidate payments (via timesheets etc) and client invoicing.
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