In May 2017, Australia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate unexpectedly fell by .2% to 5.5%, the lowest it’s been since February 2013. 42,000 jobs were added to the Australian economy, with the number of jobs advertised on Seek increasing by 8.5% year-on-year in May. Job ads rose in almost every state with South Australia showing a dramatic year-on-year increase of 20%, and ACT being the only state or territory to decrease by 0.5%. Six Degrees certainly saw a positive impact from this shift in our three core locations (Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane), placing the highest number of professionals in new roles in a month, for the entire financial year.
Australia’s largest manufacturing sector, food and grocery, saw a 30% increase in value over the 7 years to 2014-15. While other manufacturing sectors are moving offshore, food and grocery employed over 300,000 Australians between 2007 and 2014. Currently worth $126bn, the sector is seeing an increased demand on exporting, therefore playing an important role in Australia’s future manufacturing base.
Unlike in Canada where Amazon hasn’t seen significant growth since launching in 2010, or in England where it took three years to grow their market share in the consumer electronics category, Amazon may only take 12 months to reach a critical mass of third party sellers on its MarketPlace in Australia. The online marketplace giant is predicted to acquire 5% market share in many categories upon their launch. A recent survey commissioned by the parcel delivery service CourierPlease explored what elements of Amazon appeal to Australian consumers. It found that lower prices are the main driver leading Australian consumers to use Amazon, followed by a wider product range, with fast delivery times being the least significant factor.
The dairy industry anticipates a better season as the world’s largest exporter of dairy products, Fonterra, benefits from rising prices. Milk payments to New Zealand farmers for the 2017/18 season are predicted to reach $6.50/kgMS, a significant rise from last season’s $6.15/khMS. Poor weather conditions affected the industry last season, however more favourable weather conditions over summer allowed for an estimated 3% rise in collection in 2017/18.
Skill set Demands
Online platforms are taking over. Advances in inventory platforms are allowing retailers to count and order stock online. It is more cost effective for suppliers (for example; CCA) to adopt this system, thus increasing distribution points, reducing headcount and increasing logistical efficiency.
Third party merchandisers are on the rise. With their low-cost model and greater coverage of the market, Australian retail is again turning toward third-party merchandising organisations such as Strikeforce and Crossmark. This is driving a career re-think for some territory managers, as the rise of these organisations poses a threat to their role, while the trend exists. Some territory managers are transitioning into business development management roles, with a focus on acquisition.
Australian talent is filling the gap in category management. A few years ago, organisations were sourcing category managers over from the UK to fill the talent gap in Australia. With Australian retailers now driving category managers to increase their skill set, improved training and development, and increase in salaries of category teams, there is a reduced need to source international talent.