Western Australia

Macroeconomist, ABARES

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Job Reference : 2020/2848  

Classification : EL 1 - $107,933 - $116,090

Division :  ABARES

Branch :  Agricultural Forecasting & Trade

Section :  Agricultural forecasting and policy - Macroeconomics team

Location : Canberra, ACT- 7 London Cct, Canberra, ACT

Employment Status :  Ongoing (permanent) 

Hours :  Full-time or Part-time 

Security Clearance : Negative Vetting Level 1

Who we are

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) provides professionally independent, high quality research, analysis and advice to inform policy and decision-making by government and the private sector on significant issues affecting Australia's agriculture, food and fibre industries. ABARES has capabilities in multi-disciplinary research and analysis in the fields of economics, science and social science with application across agriculture, fisheries, forestry, food and water.

ABARES Agricultural Forecasting and Policy program provides a world class agricultural forecasting service combined with economic analysis of agricultural marketing policy. We provide our forecasts and analyses to the public here and here, as well as internal advice to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. The program provides an evidence base for policy on the state of Australia’s agricultural markets both here and overseas, and how changes in these markets are likely to impact Australia’s agricultural industries. The forecasts we produce improve the social welfare of all Australians by ensuring that consumers and producers of agricultural produce have the information they need to make good marketing decisions. The history and future directions of the program have been documented in detail here.

The Macroeconomics team drives the quarterly forecasting process, advising industry economists across the program on the global and domestic factors influencing demand for Australia’s agricultural commodities. They analyse the macroeconomic drivers of demand in the Economic Overview of ABARES flagship Agricultural Commodities publication, and coordinate with the crop and livestock teams to ensure a consistent interpretation of global demand drivers across all agricultural markets. The ABARES Macroeconomic team also assesses the performance of Australia’s agricultural sector as a whole, and macroeconomic influences on its competitiveness. They do this by producing and analysing sector-wide performance indicators for the Australian agriculture sector such as the gross value of production and exports, and farmers' terms of trade. This analysis forms the backbone of the Agricultural Overview in the quarterly Agricultural Commodities publication. Improving the methodologies of these sector-wide performance indicators is a significant research agenda for this team. The forecasts of agricultural sector performance produced by this team are used by a range of external stakeholders including the Australian Bureau of Statistics (farm costs, prices paid), Treasury (budget forecasts) and the Reserve Bank (sector forecasts).

The Job

The duties of the role include:

  • monitoring, analysing and communicating global macroeconomic conditions and interpreting their significance for Australian agriculture
  • leading a quarterly roundtable on the macroeconomic drivers of demand for Australia’s agricultural commodities, and publishing this analysis in the Economic overview of the Agricultural Commodities publication
  • leading a quarterly roundtable on the aggregate performance of Australia’s agricultural sector and publishing this analysis in the Agricultural overview of the Agricultural Commodities publication
  • overseeing the production and distribution of macroeconomic indicators relevant to Australia’s agricultural sector, and the ongoing maintenance and improvement of the models, systems and tools used for macroeconomic analysis
  • working with industry analysts to develop their understanding of how macroeconomic events influence individual commodity markets, and to understand which individual commodities are driving significant change in sectoral performance indicators
  • coordinating a coherent global demand narrative across all commodities, and ensuring consistent narratives for demand shocks such as African swine fever, the US-China trade dispute and the COVID-19 pandemic
  • developing and leading a research agenda to expand the capability of the macroeconomic team to assess the performance of the agricultural sector; the competitiveness of Australian agricultural exports; and how macroeconomic events affect agriculture
  • developing the skills and knowledge of the assistant macroeconomist through on the job training and learning by doing
  • working with the data manager to manage the flow of macroeconomic data from the macro team in and out of the corporate database, implement quality checks and publish data tables
  • maintaining working relationships with other macroeconomists and economic forecasters internally and externally, including collaboration with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Treasury and the Reserve Bank
  • representing ABARES at a variety of internal and external forums, and leading the development of new presentations on the overall performance of the agricultural sector.

What we are looking for

This is a position for an applied macroeconomist, and not a position likely to suit specialist macroeconomic modellers.

Knowledge and experience

Well-developed knowledge is required of:

  • the economics of global commodity markets, especially the factors driving demand and competitiveness in world markets
  • the data sources and methods that can be used to analyse macroeconomic factors, and the Australian and international institutions providing these
  • the construction, analysis and interpretation of economic indices – especially those useful for analysing sector performance and international competitiveness
  • specific knowledge of global commodity, and especially agricultural markets, is an advantage.

Skills and capabilities

  • Ability to analyse and interpret macroeconomic data, using spreadsheets and statistical packages.
  • Ability to evaluate and choose between available forecasts of economic variables, or develop forecast indicators in instances where no reliable alternatives exist.
  • Ability to lead team scenario analyses by developing alternative macroeconomic forecasts and overseeing their coherent application across diverse agricultural markets.
  • Strong written and spoken communication skills – including presentation skills.
  • Ability to work in a small team to tight timeframes, including a quarterly forecasting cycle, and prioritise competing tasks.
  • Well-developed team leadership, planning and mentoring skills.

Mandatory qualifications

An economics degree majoring in applied macroeconomics supported by at least one relevant minor. Higher degrees in applied macroeconomics would be an advantage.

Eligibility and other requirements

Citizenship-To be eligible for employment with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment you must be an Australian citizen.

Security Clearance-This position requires a Negative Vetting Level 1 security clearance. You will be required to obtain and maintain a clearance at this level.

Pre-employment Check- Your suitability for employment will be assessed through a pre-employment screening process. This process includes a requirement to undergo and satisfy a National Police Check, referee checks, character clearance and where required a pre-employment medical assessment, specified mandatory qualification(s) validation and a probation period of 6 months.

MSIC and ASIC Licences– If the position requires unescorted access within an aviation or maritime security zone, you will be required to obtain and maintain an Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC) or Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC).

Statement of claims

Applicants are required to submit a current CV/resume and a statement of claims (750 words maximum) outlining why you are interested in this position and why you believe that you have the skills, capabilities, knowledge and experience to be considered for this role. Please provide examples which demonstrate your ability to perform the duties of the position.

The key areas, or points, listed above describe the particular skills, capabilities, knowledge, and experience and where applicable the qualifications required to achieve the desired outcomes for the role and your statement of claims against these is an essential part of the shortlisting process. If shortlisted, applicants may be asked to attend an interview to provide further examples against these key areas/points to demonstrate their ability to perform the duties of the position.

Applicants must demonstrate the ways in which they will be of value to the job and the organisation. You must make sure that you adequately address each key area or point and cite evidence of your suitability. Do not simply state that you meet the requirements - it is essential that you provide examples from your current or past role(s) which demonstrate how you meet each of the key areas or points. You should focus on how your experience, achievements and capabilities will enable you to successfully undertake the responsibilities of the role(s). 

Work Health and Safety Obligations

All workers (APS1-Secretary) have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety whilst at work, to ensure their acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons and to comply with any reasonable instruction given to comply with the Work Health and Safety legislation.

All supervisors and managers (APS5-EL1) play a significant role by modelling safe work behaviours and clearly setting the standard for acceptable behaviour in the workplace. Supervisors and managers play a critical role in supporting ‘Officers’ to exercise due diligence and in consulting with duty holders.

An Officer (EL2-Secretary) makes and participates in making decisions that affect the whole or a substantial part of the department. Employees at the SES Band 2 and above classification are considered to be Officers under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) with all EL 2 and above required to complete officer due diligence training. Officers have a duty to be proactive and continuously ensure that the department complies with relevant duties and obligations.


RecruitAbility applies to this vacancy. Under the RecruitAbility scheme you will be invited to participate in further assessment activity for the vacancy if you choose to apply under the scheme; declare you have a disability; and meet the minimum requirements for the position. For more information see https://www.apsc.gov.au/recruitability


Name:                         Rohan Nelson

Phone number:             (02) 6272 3983/ 0455 023 094

Email address:             rohan.nelson@awe.gov.au


Closing Date

Applications close:      11:00 pm (AEDT) on 6 November 2020

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