The lowest petrol prices in WA for six years are likely to have a knock-on effect for retail businesses, leading to more jobs in the sector, reports recruitment firm Robert Walters.

Boosted by the construction of new shopping centres across the State, retail is the top performer, followed by construction, health and education.

In its salary survey released last month, Robert Walters predicts WA workers will experience the lowest percentage of pay rises of any State in 2015, at 1.2 per cent, followed by NSW at 1.4 per cent and Queensland and Victoria at 1.7 per cent.

WA director Ryan Hathrill said it was likely to be another tough year for WA businesses but the wave of redundancies seen in 2014 should drop. Any salary increases would be modest.

“It looks like we are over the worst, ” Mr Hathrill said. “With the price of petrol per barrel dropping to $50, the savings are likely to be pumped into retail. We’ve already seen some new international brands come into the WA market and, with more international retailers planning an entry, things are very buoyant.”

Commercial and residential construction also would remain strong as the Perth Stadium, Elizabeth Quay and City Link projects progressed, while the number of month-on-month approvals for high-rise apartments meant the residential sector also would be stronger than ever.

Health services would receive another boost as the Perth Children’s Hospital project neared completion and Fiona Stanley’s operations swung into full gear. Education was always a strong performer, and agriculture was also performing very well.

Kurt Gillam, State manager of Kelly Services, said there was a bit more optimism in the market but workers should not expect any significant salary gains.

“In some industries average salaries may drop — in the mining sector in particular, ” he said. “Companies have been taking a helicopter view of their workforces and in 2015 they are likely to be strategic and measured in their approach to hiring.”

Mr Gillam said tradies would again do well in 2015 and trades-related positions also would receive a boost. There should be plenty of positions available for electricians, boilermakers and mechanical fitters. The second quarter was likely to see the biggest gains as major projects took shape in April.

Strong growth in the aged-care sector and agribusiness would boost employment figures there but graduates would again find it tough to enter the full-time jobs market.

“My advice to graduates is to hang in there and get some work experience under your belt, ” Mr Gillam said. “If you can show that you’ve got some get up and go, then it may just give you the edge over the other applicants.”


© The West Australian

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