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Executive Summary

September 2021

Despite rising unemployment overall executive jobs have not been affected by the lockdowns

Computing positions drop after months of continuously high growth. Jobs in Finance surge but working from home has handicapped new Marketing roles 

The E.L Index measure of executive jobs has not fallen in the past eight months despite rising general unemployment across the nation. The EL Index is a reliable employment gauge that is predictive future general employment trends, executives are employed ahead of an economic upswing and laid off ahead of a downturn. The continuing lockdown in the big Australian states has certainly taken a toll on executive employment with demand flat this month but there hasn't been the fallout that has occurred in the skilled and semi-skilled manufacturing and hospitality jobs. Mr Grant Montgomery, Managing Director of E.L Consult, a leading executive search firm that researches and publishes the E.L. Index, said: "Compared to the first major lockdown when all levels of employment collapsed, executive hiring has remained relatively healthy. "It is a tale of two Australia's. This time around the systems are in place and the experience is there for many executives to continue working as before, albeit from their kitchen table. "There is also a sense that this lockdown is temporary, and there will be a quick recovery after.For the good of everyone let's hope this is correct. "Demand for executives is trending at record highs across the country so an expected bounce back after the COVID downturn remains likely. During the month demand fell 7 per cent in New South Wales, while the ACT, which is seeing its first major lockdown, dropped 24 per cent. This made up the majority of the falls, but were counteracted by gains in Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland. "The real problem for this month's figures was a fall in the biggest and most healthy executive job sector, Information Technology, but this downturn (12 per cent) can be written off as a simple "breather" after months and months of continuous hiring increases," Mr Montgomery said. "COVID has had a huge positive impact on IT executive hiring as the economy exponentially digitalizes. This growth will not slow down in the foreseeable future so we see further upturns for the jobs in IT. "The Marketing result, down 18 per cent, which contributed mostly to the low national figure this month, was expected. "Marketing at the executive level particularly the selling of sophisticated services cannot be replaced easily with on-line promotional campaigns like it can to spruik sales in retail goods, for example. "Marketing of major contracts requires face to face contact which is currently forbidden in the major states "The only avenues for expanding market share in a lockdown are by email and to a lesser extent telephone contact with clients. "This is acceptable for completing previously initiated major contracts but not starting new ones." Mr Montgomery said Finance positions were actually higher for the month. "Studies shown that the hiring of more financial executives has a strong correlation to growth in consumer and business lending and this month's surge is no doubt related to increases in lending for the booming housing market. "Small business has been hamstrung since the Banking Royal Commission which turned banks into predominantly building society lenders basing a borrower's ability to repay on existing free cash income and ignore asset backing when accessing lending proposals. "Gone are the days that dad could guarantee a loan against the family home for a son or daughter's start-up venture. Said Grant Montgomery "Fortunately for the Banks the housing boom has maintained their lending books, but this is not good for Australia as small business is our biggest employer. "Businesses that relied on bank financing are now seeking alternative sources of funds to their detriment and the Australian economy generally." Overall therefore, there were two separate areas of the E.L Index in August. Financial and Engineering were up confidently, while IT and Marketing were down. Management recorded a 1 per cent gain over the prior month.

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