Only three employment sectors experienced a greater fall in job demand last year than human resources, according to the latest Olivier Job Index results.
At this time in 2008 the sector had experienced 40 per cent growth in job ads on the back of the economic and commercial boom, according to Olivier Group director, Bob Olivier.
The past year, however, included nine consecutive months of falling demand for HR staff, with the total number of jobs falling 38 per cent - to the levels of nearly three years ago.
NSW had the worst year of the states, says Olivier, with HR demand falling by 42 per cent. Western Australia had the worst result in the past month, slumping by 19 per cent following a stalling of the resources boom.
Tasmania and the ACT, however, closed the year at levels close to those at the start, with the number of advertised HR roles increasing by 19 and nine per cent respectively in December.
Last month saw demand for general HR roles drop by 15 per cent, taking the year's result down by 56 per cent. Ads for HR management positions, however, rose by nine per cent.
Demand for recruitment staff stabilised in December, after plummeting 36 per cent in the past year.
The only HR specialty to experience an increase in demand in 2008 was OHS, with jobs rising by 18 per cent.
The "winner" sectors last year, according to Olivier, were engineering (with demand up 16%), education (+4%) and healthcare, which dropped by only two per cent.
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