As each week passes, the situation surrounding the novel coronavirus continues to evolve in this country. The first of June marked not only the start of winter, but also the start of a new stage of freedom for many of Sydney’s businesses—though cities in some other states have to wait a little longer for their next stage of coronavirus recovery. Australia has few timely measures that help to identify the impact of COVID-19 on labour market conditions. Job postings from Indeed is one of the few, with data updated daily and never more than a few days old. So, just how are job postings tracking and which sectors are seeing the fastest recoveries so far?
Job postings in Australia: Things are looking up
As at 29 May, Australian job postings on Indeed AU were tracking 50% lower than their trend at the same stage last year, improving from a 52% gap two-weeks ago. Hiring conditions have improved across Australian in recent weeks, tracking in line with the easing of restrictions across the country.
The improvement in hiring activity is even more apparent when focusing on new job postings, which are defined as those on Indeed AU for 7-days or less. New job postings have more than doubled from their low point on 19 April. Despite that impressive turnaround, much improvement is still required as new job postings this year are tracking 46% below their trend last year.
Some sectors are improving
Hiring activity for every sector remains well below last year’s trend, with drivers and nurses the best performers throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Both occupations have played an important role in Australia during the pandemic, either by treating the virus or helping businesses connect with their customers. Yet job postings for drivers and nurses are still tracking 20% and 27%, respectively, below last year’s trend.
Hiring activity across other sectors has been much weaker. Job postings for hospitality & tourism, pharmacy and sports are all down 80% or more compared with last year’s trend.
Yet, there is clear improvement across many sectors. Hiring activity is tracking higher, relative to last year’s trend, in 55% of sector groups, compared with 2-weeks earlier. The biggest hiring improvement has been in dental, loading & stocking, beauty & wellness and childcare. All have improved by 10% points or more against last year’s trend.
This improvement reflects the lifting of restrictions across the country, with dentists and beauty salons re-opening or children returning to childcare.
Hiring activity has deteriorated in some areas recently, most notably in the healthcare sector.
Restrictions continue to be lifted across Australia, prompting greater economic and hiring activity. This improvement is likely to continue in coming weeks, with hiring activity gradually improving towards more normal levels. We shouldn’t expect the economy to snap back to what it was pre-crisis, at least not initially, but our economy is beginning to return to something resembling normal.
Finding the right candidates for your open roles
If you’re currently hiring, it’s important to ensure your job ad is optimised to attract applicants with the skills and experience you require. It’s good practice to create a job description from scratch, rather than simply cutting and pasting the last one you used to hire. Make sure it clearly states the requirements and skills needed by candidates to excel in the role. Give candidates as much information about what the day-to-day looks like as possible—and don’t forget to outline what’s in it for them.
Flexible working conditions (whether that means working from home, flexible starting and finishing hours, or something else), private health insurance, education reimbursement, extra superannuation payments, volunteer days—highlighting benefits such as these can help to sell the role (and the company) to interested applicants. It also puts them in a better position to decide whether the workplace is a good fit for them.
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To measure the trends in job postings, we calculated the 7-day moving average of the number of AU job postings on Indeed. We index each day’s 7-day moving average to 1 Feb for that year (1 Feb, 2020 = 100 for 2020 data, and so on), or another date if specified on the chart.
We report how the trend in job postings this year differs from last year, in order to focus on the recent changes in labour market conditions due to COVID-19. For example: if job postings for a country increased 5% from 1 February, 2019, to 28 March, 2019, but fell 25% from 1 February, 2020, to 28 March, 2020, then the index would have risen from 100 to 105 in 2019 and fallen 100 to 75 in 2020. The year-to-date trend in job postings would therefore be down 29% on 28 March (75 is 29% below 105) in 2020 relative to 2019.
Information based on publicly available information on the Indeed AU website, limited to Australia, is not a projection of future events, and includes both paid and unpaid job solicitations.