Silver lining to Covid’s ‘stark impact’ on jobs

Another month of severe lockdowns have seen a decline in job ad figures, however signs exist that many opportunities still exist for job seekers in several industries.

The “stark impact” of Covid was reflected in SEEK’s August 2021 job numbers, with national job ads decreasing by 5.3 per cent month-on-month.

According to SEEK’s August Employment Report, strict restrictions in NSW and Victoria had a major impact on the labour market, with listings declining in the states and territories under the strictest lockdowns.

“In August we have again seen the stark impact of COVID-19 restrictions,” said SEEK’s Managing Director, Kendra Banks.

“South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory had increases in job ad volumes. Conversely, levels in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT have declined following various increases in local restrictions and lockdowns.”

“All states and territories have more job ads than the same month in 2019 except for New South Wales and the ACT which are down by 11.7 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively.”

All states and territories also reflected considerable year-on-year growth from 2020.

Nationally ,2021 August job ads reflected a 55.9 per cent uptick, with Victoria reporting a 150 per cent jump, despite the majority of the state facing a similar lockdown this time last year.

The research showed that short-term lockdowns often had little or no impact on listings.

This was observed in Victoria when their initial two-week snap lockdown actually resulted in an increase in job ads, however figures began to dip after the Premier Dan Andrews extended the period, with restrictions set to remain until the state reaches its vaccination targets.

“In July, despite a two-week restriction period, Victoria experienced an increase in the number of job ads posted during the month, however with the lockdown extended throughout the whole month of August, job ad numbers have now declined,” said Ms Banks.

“This demonstrates that short lockdowns don’t have too much of an impact on the labour market, but when extended, more businesses start to put hiring plans on hold.”

Customer-facing roles hit hard

Unsurprisingly, the jobs that have been hit hardest during August, were customer-facing, service industry jobs. Although hospitality and tourism showed the biggest decline, down 19 per cent month-on-month, with job ads in the industry falling by 33.1 per cent in Victoria alone, heavily skewing the figures. Currently a 9pm to 5am curfew is in place for Metropolitan Melbourne with cafes and restaurants only allowed to offer takeaway and delivery options.

Residents are also only able to travel up to 5km from their home with only necessary goods and services allowed to open.

“In Victoria, the sharp decline in job ad volumes in customer-facing industries drove the decline in those sectors at a national level,” said Ms Banks.

“Job ad volumes in hospitality and tourism declined 19 per cent nationally and 33.1 per cent in Victoria, while volumes in Trades & Services dropped by 7.3 per cent nationally and 6.5 per cent in Victoria.”

Despite this, the employment marketplace stressed that there are “plenty of opportunities”

for jobseekers across the country, despite a month-on-month decline in the applications per job ad rate.

“With restrictions and uncertainty continuing across our major job markets, it is timely to remind those considering a move that opportunities are out there in many industries,” said Ms Banks.

Nationally, the top three industries with the most jobs on SEEK currently are: trades and services (labourers, electricians and technicians), healthcare and medical roles (aged care nursing, dental, psychology and social workers) and information and communications technology (developers, programmers, software engineers, help desk and IT support), with most states and territories reflecting a mix of those industries.

Other prominent industries also include mining, resources and energy, government and defence and manufacturing, transport and logistics.

This article was created in sponsorship with SEEK


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