There are now half as many job advertisements in Australia as there was this time last year, according to new figures released by the Olivier Group.
The Olivier Job Index fell 7.43% in April, with a 12 month fall of 49.84%, and it would appear Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's announcement last week sets university students up for an impossible job finding task upon completion of their learning, with graduate positions falling by 56%.
IT job ads fell 7.4% in April, leaving 56% fewer IT jobs than 12 months ago.
Peter Acheson, COO of the country's largest IT recruitment firm Peoplebank, says IT contracting is still strong, despite the drop in job advertisements.
"Easter had a big impact on April's result, many companies stopped hiring and asked staff to take extended leave over the long weekend," said Acheson.
It's not all doom and gloom for some in the IT sector as SAP professionals, along with J2EE professionals, still enjoy a healthy job marketplace, Acheson adds.
"Employers are even suffering a shortage of .Net programmers in Canberra as a result of many of the federal government's core platforms being in .Net," Acheson said.
The transport industry was hardest hit in April, with a drop of 18.04% last month, and according to Olivier Group director, Robert Olivier, the impact of swine flu alerts on international air travel will affect work prospects even more.
"When the SARS fears peaked in 2003 we tracked two month's decline in tourism and transport," Olivier said.
"But then as the economy was rebounding, recovery in those industries was quick. At this time we have to wait and see."
Healthcare was the only sector not to fall last month, with a small rise of 0.67%, however job advertisements in engineering (14.06%), HR (13.86%), advertising and media (12.44%) and accounting (12.06%) all slumped considerably.
However there is a glimmer of hope in the engineering space, says Acheson, with the outlook for the next few months looking positive due to some big oil and gas projects and BHP projects that are set to begin.
The three top job boards showed a significant decline, with the raw number of job ads falling from 204,433 at the beginning of the month to 183,837.
Even with an abundance of talent in the job market, Olivier says many large organisations are not advertising, but using people in their 'redeployment pool'.
Incidentally, Olivier reports a lack of employer confidence leading to slow hiring decision, but urges job seekers to be patient.
"It's not the quantity of your applications, but the quality, that counts," Olivier said.
Olivier says the ACT, insulated by government spending, is the best performing state in Australia with overall decline of just 0.78% in the month.
Other buoyant states are South Australia and Tasmania, falling just 2.78 and 4.24% respectively.
Reflecting the downturn in the mining industry, Western Australia was the hardest hit of the states, with job advertisements falling 12.33% last month.