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Job seekers' storm before the calm

By Greg Pankhurst

It's well known that the job market slows during Christmas. Recruitment tends to stop with so many people attending Christmas parties, travelling, shopping, juggling school holidays and going on annual leave.

So when, exactly, does the market start to drop off, and when does it pick up again?

I've heard it said that Australia closes for business from Melbourne Cup day to Australia Day, but that's a long way from the truth. In our experience, the job market doesn't start to drop off until the week before Christmas.

In fact, often there is a spike in recruitment activity in early December as companies try to have interviews finished and offers over the line before stakeholders start disappearing into the Christmas vortex. However, while the timing of the slowdown is consistent, the rebound tends to be more variable.

At Balance Recruitment, we have seen some years start with the phones ringing constantly from the first week of January, and others during which we have spent most of the month watching the cricket. The difference tends to be the health of the economy. In a bullish market, the job market tends to come back on stream quickly, while in a softer market the market will typically remain flat until late January or even early February.

Suffice it to say, we are expecting to see quite a bit of the cricket this season. So, if you are looking for work, push hard on the search during the next few weeks because this year's lull is likely to be a long one.
Greg Pankhurst is a managing director at Balance Recruitment.

Published: 13 October 2012

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