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Job market takes another major blow

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
16 April 2020 2 minute readShare
job market

Australia’s job crisis is deepening, according to SEEK’s latest data, which points to a 33.9 per cent yearly drop in job ads in March and a more drastic decline in the second week of April.

According to the job ads website, new job ads posted on SEEK plunged by 68.6 per cent in the week ended 12 April compared to the same week last year, with New South Wales and Victoria suffering major declines of 70 per cent and 75.1 per cent, respectively.

“In the week ended 12 April, we have seen new job ad posting down by 68.6 per cent compared to the same week in 2019, which follows on from the previous two weeks in 2020, both declining by 64.6 per cent and 65.3 per cent,” said Kandra Banks, managing director at SEEK ANZ.

“It is not pleasing to see the continued impact of COVID-19 on the labour market; however, our data does indicate that the typical Easter decline in hiring was not as prominent this year.”

Looking at the full month of March, the overall decline in job ad value climbed to 33.9 per cent on the year, with trades and services, and hospitality and tourism among the most affected.

But when broken up into weeks, there is a clearer picture of how the coronavirus crept up on Australia, with the drop through March deepening from just 12.6 per cent in the week ended on 8 March to 41.3 per cent two weeks later, and 64.6 per cent in the final week of last month.

“The coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread disruption to the labour market, and SEEK is seeing a range of industries respond in very different ways,” Ms Banks said.

Hospitality and tourism was one of the first sectors to be impacted by the pandemic. Job ads declined week on week throughout March, starting at 13 per cent, then 26 per cent, then 69.2 per cent and, by the final week of March, down by 84.1 per cent.

“SEEK saw employers and business owners looking for roles within the sector — such as bar staff, housekeeping, guest services, tour guides, airline staff and travel agents — cease or stall their plans completely, which is a direct result of the restrictions imposed by authorities such as international borders closing and social isolation measures,” Ms Banks said.

Roles in demand

But according to SEEK’s latest April data, call centre and customer service roles are now in hot demand, with candidate availability data showing that, over the last three weeks, applications for these roles increased by more than six times.

“Roles in call centre and customer service have seen a huge increase in demand. We know first-time jobseekers and those who have been displaced from work value roles that don’t require specific qualifications or experience and which they can quickly start,” Ms Banks said.

“When you combine this with the ability to work from home, there are a huge number of people who these jobs appeal to right now.”

Where the jobs are

SEEK data points to an increase in job ads in: 

  • Healthcare and medical: roles such as nursing, applied health, GPs and psychology, counselling and social work
  • Information and communications technology: developers/programmers, software engineering, business/systems analysts and project management
  • Trades and services: automotive, fitters, turners and machinists, and electricians
  • Manufacturing, transport and logistics: warehousing, storage and distribution, road transport, assembly and process work, and machine operators
  • Mining, resources and energy: engineering and maintenance and operations
Job market takes another major blow
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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has a decade-long career in journalism across finance, business and politics. Now a well-versed reporter in the SME and accounting arena, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies and enabling citizens to influence decision-making.

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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