1 Oct 2013

Market still tough for job seekers

7:07 am on 1 October 2013

The job market is still tough for those looking for work despiter the latest jobs confidence survey showing a lift in wage growth and job security.

The Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index fell to 102.8 in the three months to September, down from 104.2 in the June 2013 quarter.

It was the second-highest reading in the past two years but still well below pre-recession levels. A figure above 100 shows that optimists outnumber pessimists.

Westpac senior economist Michael Gordon said the opportunities for job hunters would continue to be slim.

"There's certainly been a pick-up in hiring intentions and on some measures they're getting towards historically quite high levels," Mr Gordon said.

"But as to whether those intentions are translating into action, so far workers are not reporting a great deal of that to date."

There was a sense general business conditions were improving but employers remained reluctant to employ new staff, he said.

Mr Gordon believed that would improve but not for some time:

"... the days of an unemployment rate at 4% or less, as we had during the peak of the last boom, it's a long way from getting to that degree of tightness in the jobs market," he said.